Chorley’s only nightclub is continuing to defy the recession as it threw a glamourous burlesque-themed party to celebrate its 24th birthday at the weekend.
Applejax was set up by Kurt and Andrea Smith in 1987 in the old Conservative Club by the town centre and has served the town ever since, despite other pubs and venues closing around it.
Popular current manager Peter Verhaege, who has worked there since 1994, thinks there are several reasons behind the club’s success.
“We’ve always had a firm stance about absolutely no drugs and no fighting,” he said. “This makes Applejax a fun but safe place for a night out.”
The club has also just finished a major refit. This has updated the decor throughout the two bars, dance floors and lounges.
“It was looking quite retro,” said Peter, “so we decided to give it a fresh new look.”
He thinks the club benefits from being a family firm with a strong and long-serving team.
They have twice won the Best Bar None awards for South Lancashire, which rewards good management.
After their birthday party Applejax are planning events for the holidays.
They’re organising prize giveaways for their Christmas and Boxing Day parties, as well as their New Year celebrations.
Peter said: “We always put a £50 note into one of the balloons for New Year, so people end up popping them all!”
But in today’s economy staying afloat requires more hard work than ever before.
“The key is to be optimistic,” said Peter. “In every challenge there is an opportunity, and spotting it is the key to staying ahead.”
So in addition to DJs the club hosts live music, including many local bands, as well as race and casino nights for charity.
They’re now branching out into burlesque shows and hope to start hosting lessons in the future.
They also offer 99p drinks every Saturday night, and the first 50 people to turn up get in free.
Applejax also won an award from the Lancashire Constabulary for their youth nights, which they organised with the council.
These are alcohol-free evenings where children from 13 to 17 can enjoy the nightclub experience and stay off the streets.
Peter thinks this variety of events is what has allowed them to build up a large base of loyal customers.
The membership scheme, which offers discounted entry and queue-skipping privileges, has over 2,000 members.
Applejax can also be booked for private parties from Monday to Saturday. These can cater for up to 450 people and all ages.
For enquiries about booking Applejax call 07528 403 254.