This week, news reached us that Twisted Pepper was taking a break.
This comes on the back of some pretty remarkable numbers from the UK stating that the number of nightclubs had halved in the last decade, down from 3,144 to 1,733 today. We've just seen the decade of pubs struggling to reinvent themselves – and the trend has made the same journey we've all made on countless nights out, turning its attention from the pub to the nightclub.
Like most things in life, this shift comes down to mixture of simple economics and sex.
Any decent nightclub promoter will tell you they need to get people into the place before 11 to make decent cash. And that used to be a fairly easy sell when pubs were shitty, dark smoky rooms with only Guinness and piss-beer to choose from.
The problem now, however, is that with such a variety of quality bars, pop up cinemas, targeted events, brilliant restaurants and late bars, people are arriving at clubs much later – if at all. Add in the recessionary crazes of prinking (pre-drinking for you oldies) and sneaking drinks into nightclubs, which are culturally embedded now whatever the economic forecasts may be, and the fact is that nightclubs just aren't making enough money.
If you owned a city centre premises, turning it into a nightclub would seem like a pretty bad use of prime real estate right now. And sure enough, word on the street is that the Twisted Pepper will be back as something way more upmarket and way more 24/7.
But that's not all.
There Are Better Ways To Get The Ride These Days
Lets be honest and say that most people – or at least, a healthy minority – go to a nightclub to get the ride.
Tinder is the digital version of this ritual – only it works way better and doesn't cost a penny
Apart from those who enjoy the feeling of chemicals flowing through their veins, there's little enough reason to pay into a hot sweaty room, where drinks are double the price of a bar and where you'll struggle to have any sort of a conversation. Groups of guys and girls go to clubs with the hope of getting lucky in this sweaty lottery of life.
But in the same way that apps like Hailo and Uber mean you no longer have to stand at the side of the road like an eejit hoping a taxi drives past, Tinder and Snapchat mean you no longer have to do the nightclub equivalent of hailing down a different type of ride in an overpriced sweat box of a nightclub.
It might be getting push back but Tinder is the digital version of this ritual – only it works way better and doesn't cost a penny.
You can sit in the comfort of a bar and scroll through potential matches at 7pm over a gorgeous Hendricks and tonic while laughing with friends. Nobody asks you to pay €3 to mind your jacket, and you can filter out people by age or looks without one condescending look. Meet a potential partner after work while having drinks, and you can be snapping a couple of hours later making plans – or having an actual conversation.
Does This Mean Coppers Will Die?
No. There's still a place for nightclubs, but the simple fact is people are spending their money on much better experiences now.
They'll evolve into something new. Think of a Sophie's, Xico, 37 or House where you can eat and then dance in plush surroundings. You'll also have hard core dance crew who genuinely enjoy loud music and sweaty rooms with thumping bass – and of course, the ritual of 'moving on' to certain places is something that's fairly embedded in a lot of us by now.
But much like the pubs, nightclubs will downsize, be forced to offer a better product and evolve. We've all spent hundreds of nights in clubs – but can any of us say we truly loved them?