Andrew Carroll investigates who is going to be affected most after a year of closures and uncertainty in Dublin’s nightclub scene.
Between January and October of 2017 four of Dublin’s most popular mid-sized nightclubs found themselves threatened with possible or definitive closures.
Both Hangar and District 8 as well as the already defunct Howl at the Moon on Lower Mount Street were popular venues with young people from across Dublin. The closure of all three leaves these young people – mostly college students – with few other options outside of the popular Harcourt Street spots.
The closure or rebranding of other hotspots such as the Twisted Pepper and Sweeney’s further reduced options for the city’s nightlife. “It’s dreadful,” said Adam Delany, a DIT business student. “I don’t know where I’ll go once District 8 closes. Nowhere else plays that kind of music. Definitely not Coppers anyway.”
The sale last year of the Andrew’s Lane Theatre which houses Hangar for €4.4 million was agreed in April 2017. The Tivoli Theatre’s owner Anthony Byrne submitted proposals to An Bord Pleanála in January 2017 to turn the venue, which houses District 8, into an aparthotel. The plans are extremely long term according to District 8’s Facebook statement.
Hangar in Andrew’s Lane Theatre is one of Dublin’s most popular clubs for young people and students and is due for closure and demolition in April 2018.
At a meeting on Wednesday evening held by nightlife lobby group Give Us the Night concerns were raised over these closures as well as licensing hours. Speaking to the Journal.ie Dublin-based DJ Sunil Sharpe said: “There is huge potential for growth here and it could be hugely beneficial to the economy.” When District 8 eventually closes it will leave fans of techno and electronic music without a large venue.
District 8 is the only nightclub in Dublin with a 1,000 plus capacity for such a specific type of music. “Big gigs have now hoovered up the majority of people,” added Sharpe. Smaller to mid-sized clubs often struggle with late licensing fees which cost €410.
Among such clubs are the likes of LGBT pub/club the George as well as nights such as Mother and prHomo in The Hub in Temple Bar. “The Dublin LGBTQ scene is becoming more and more compact,” said Richie Devitt, a frequent patron of both the George and the Hub. “Andrew’s Lane Theatre used to be the venue for WAR but that ended in 2015. Now two of the most popular nights for queer people are in the one place. There’s a definite lack of variety”.
Such closures and reductions may even affect Dublin’s booming year round tourist trade. “People come to this country and they love the atmosphere in our nightclubs … but they can’t understand why we shut at 2 or 3 am,” noted Sunil Sharpe. “There’s been no political will”.