Were you a fan of Tokyo Joes or Lord Byrons, a regular at the Manxman or do you still love The Warehouse? Here are 10 Preston nightspots from our mis-spent youths (and probably where we met our significant others..and a few more) We would love to hear your memories..
Preston’s only floating nightspot, the Manxman spent its first 20 years as a ferry between the Isle of Man and Liverpool. It also sailed from Fleetwood. Built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in 1955 for the Isle of Man Steam packet company, it ceased service in 1982. It was used as a location for the film Yentl with Barbra Streisand and a Granada series called Scramble with Richard and Judy (before they were a couple) before arriving in Preston Docks to be converted into a floating museum and visitor centre. This project failed and it became a floating nightclub and restaurant. When the Preston Docks were redeveloped the Manxman was towed to Liverpool (in 1991) and used as a floating nightclub in the Trafalgar Docks area. It was then left rusting in dock in Sunderland before being dismantled in 2012.
2.The Warehouse: Formerly Raiders ( and still going strong):
Located on St John’s Place, Preston, it was originally named The Warehouse when it first opened in 1972, then renamed Raiders, then back to The Warehouse in 1988. A strong focal point for the punk movement in the late 1970s, it later hosted famous bands of the day including The Stone Roses, China Crisis and Joy Division who recorded their album ‘Preston Warehouse’ there 12 weeks before Ian Curtis’s death. The club expanded in 1990 with the middle floor and the top floor was added in 1993, boosting the capacity to 650. In more recent years the club has focused on its ‘alternative’ identity, features three floors each with their own style of indie, rock and pop music and is a big draw for students and local residents.
3.Tokyo Joes (also Top Rank, Clouds, Easy Street, Lava & Ignite and currently Evoque):
Many a reveller has danced the night away at this iconic Preston nightclub still often referred to as ‘Tokes’ under its various guises. For decades the place to meet, celebrate, have fun and find romance, the building on Church Street started life in 1928 when it opened as the New Victoria cinema then the Gaumont and then the Odeon. In 1963 dance hall Top Rank Suite was created in the former stalls of the cinema, featuring a misture of ball dancing and disco dancing every night. BBC Radio One was a regular visitor in the late 1960s and early 1970s with DJs Terry Wogan, Noel Edmonds and Dave Lee Travis hosting shows from the club. It’s next reincarnation in 1974 was as Clouds discotheque. The opening night featured the Jimmy Wilson trio and impressionists Roger Dee. An early lineup of Manchester band The Stone Roses, featuring Ian Brown and John Squire, played on March 29,1985. It became Easy Street in 1989 with split-levels, two bars and a dining room. The new decor included walls plastered with pages of the Lancashire Evening Post for effect. Former page three model Linda Lusardi made an appearance and pop star Sinitta in 1989. It opened as the huge Tokyo Joes in August 1990 at a cost of £1m to rival other North West clubs including Blackpool’s Palace, Blackburn’s Peppermint Place and Wigan’s Mr Smiths. In August 2006 it took the guise of Lava and Ignite after a £1.5m transformation. Then when that closed in August 2013 it had a complete revamp and became Evoque, featuring booth seating and table service in two distinctly styled rooms.
4.Squires & Quincys ( Squires and New York, New York now Cameo and Vinyl):
Squires, opened in 1979, was well known as one of Preston’s biggest and most popular nightclubs and was multiple award winning in its day. Styled as a stately home or gentleman’s club, it opened with seven bars and two dance floors and three £1,000 chandeliers aimed at the over 25 age group. Quincys featured soul music and up-front club music while Squires featured popular and chart music with a dash of golden oldies. It has recently made the transition from its most recent Squires and New York New York identity to Cameo and Vinyl in 2014. Owned by Luminar Leisure and located in Market Street at the Lancastria building (formerly the Co-op), it has long been home to popular mid-week student nights and is known for its cocktails. The recent refurbishment cost a quarter of a million pounds.
Tucked away off the city centre on Guildhall Street, Preston, and located in a grade two listed restored Victorian townhouse built in 1892, Fives was aimed at an slightly older and more sophisticated crowd. Spread over four floors which were themed into different party rooms and eating/entertainment bars, the opulent decor reflected the grandeur of the building. Entry was via a large archway at the top of some steps, with restaurants on the ground floor and up a floor to the ‘Tick Tack Toe’ music bar. The top floor was themed ‘Masquerade’ dotted with masks and enormous mirror over a fireplace. The basement layer later featured the ‘Cocktail factory’ with a theatrical cocktail vibe and booths. The basement is now home to the Face Chinese Restaurant, specialising in Hong Kong-style Dim Sum.
6.The Gatsby Nightclub (also known as Worsley’s Dance Hall, The Club Royale, Molloy’s Dance Club, Le Millionaires, Club Solid, Blitz, Green):
Situated on Great Shaw Street, the club was built in 1920 as a casino and became, among other names, the Club Royale in the 1950s’s before the name was changed to the Gatsby in 1970 . Controversial funnyman Bernard Manning was among those who made an appearance at the club, also used as a live venue. Other concerts included Showaddywaddy, The Real Thing and Mud and the Bay City Rollers. With two bar areas and two dancefloors, it had a surge of popularity but declined and was later relaunched as the Private Eyes club - an American-style lap dancing bar. This venue has now been demolished to make way for UCLAN accommodation.
7.Lord Byron (also Piper, Barristers, Storm):
Situated right by Preston Bus station on Tithebarn Street, Byron was the Doc Marten-wearing, shoegazing, indie-kid favourite and known for its cheap, strong, drinks and sticky dancefloor, holding indie nights on Fridays and rave nights on Saturday nights. In the early 90’s it gained a reputation for drug-taking and dealing and was raided by the police in July 1992. The three owners and the manager of the club were arrested, accused of allowing sale and taking of drugs. Some charges were dropped but two eventually paid fines of around £2,000 for allowing sale of cannabis - after undercover police officers staged a covert sting. A court battle followed to keep the club open followed (it was successful) and the rave nights stopped but then the venue was put up for sale. It became Storm nightclub in November, 2001, under new ownership and underwent a facelift, staging lap dancing nights and with a host of visits by page three glamour girls.
This former cotton mill in Aqueduct Street has undergone a number of changes as a venue and has recent incarnations, featuring a Shisha bar and the newest addition the Escape Room Preston, where players take part in prison-break type experience. The Mill opened as a nightclub/music club focusing on alternative music in 1998. The opening night attracted 200 people and featured American rock band Freak of Nature with Toyah playing just days later. During its heyday attracted bands including Pulp, Oasis, Kingmaker, Therapy and Little Angels. The club went into new ownership in 2006 but they saw a drop in trade after the smoking ban, which the management said killed off the business.
Probably the biggest and most successful dance club night in Preston’s history, Feel was a ‘super club’ that was based at the University of Central Lancashire venue from January 1994 to 2005 and was renowned across the country, featuring DJs and performers including Carl Cox, John Digweed and Prodigy. The last song ever played at Feel is believed to be ‘Can you feel it’ by London Fiesta.
10.No Nos. (later the Corner Club, Method):
Who remembers this one? It enjoyed a surge of popularity back in the day and was a venue often frequented later in the evening after the pubs had kicked out. We don’t ‘No’ much more..please share..