'It's the end of an era' - Owner of Hitchin nightclub The Ivory confirms closure with building set to become flats
PUBLISHED: 16:43 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:43 14 January 2016
A nightspot that was once the place to party until the early hours has closed to clubbers forever.
The Ivory Club in Brand Street, which has been welcoming late night revellers through its doors for more than a decade, finally shut up shop on the first Saturday in January – with a low key finale.
The town centre site, which saw many romances start – and end – on its dancefloor and around its late night bar, is to be turned into flats after the landlord of the venue, North London-based Trojan Properties, declined bar boss Carl Barton’s plan to extend its lease.
The Latchmore Court office block next door is also being turned into apartments with planning permission already granted.
But Carl also believes the Ivory closure is a sign of the times with a sea change in clubbers’ tastes and habits.
He explained: “We wanted to extend the lease with a view to reinvestment in the site which would allow us to actively promote and market it.
“I was only offered a deal until June this year, and you can’t run a business like the Ivory with such a short term lease.
“We closed for good on Saturday, January 2. The landlords told me they’d turned down my request for a longer lease a day before the new year. We decided to go ahead and have a final weekend but it was pretty low-key.
“Our 10-year anniversary just before Christmas was low-key, too.
“I do think that the Ivory closing is also symptomatic of the times we live in.
“Hitchin has changed as a town and not so many people go out these days.
“Kids do their drinking at home first rather than hit a pub at 7pm with the intention of heading to a nightclub later in the evening – it’s the end of an era.
“The new licensing laws played a part, too. People went out for a purpose which was drinking in a pub until 11pm then heading to a club.
“But the relaxing of opening times meant people go out for different reasons now. And most pubs also offer food now – turning many into restaurants.
“Lots of friendships and relationships were formed in The Ivory – as well as a few broken up, too! Many people first got together with their partners in the Ivory.
“I’m glad to have played a part in making it the place to go for a decade. I hope my kids will still go out clubbing when they’re older – but the days of people in the town socialising from Thursday through to Sunday are gone.”
l Did you find love at The Ivory? Share your memories of nights at the venue, and your thoughts about Hitchin’s night-time scene, by emailing email@example.com