What was reopening night like?
I had an idea of what to expect when we opened our doors. At this point we’ve traded for two nights since then and we’ve taken just about double what I was expecting. When we had that June opening date, we knew it was going to be crazy. When that was postponed, I was more hesitant, but it’s been busy – and it’s amazing to see people back.
Is anything different now?
For customers, very little. There are a lot more Covid protocols and checklists for staff, but we’ve tried to go back close to normal for customers. It’s crazy to think how everything disappeared overnight last year. Seventeen months later, you still couldn’t get a drink in a bar on a Sunday night. Then on the Monday, it’s straight back into it. Everything feels relatively familiar – I’m just a bit less used to the lack of sleep.
Are you worried about the government’s plan to make full vaccination an entry requirement for nightclubs?
The industry has taken a really tough line on this, but I actually agree with double vaccinations, provided there are allowances for people with medical exemptions. And I’m happy we’ve been given until September. I wouldn’t have been happy if we’d opened and then the rules had changed immediately. This time, though, I think the government’s doing it properly, even if they’re only really doing it in order to encourage young people to get vaccinated.
Covid aside then, how did you come to be a nightclub owner?
Going back, back, back, this actually all started when I was 16 years old. My parents didn't give me much pocket money at school. A friend and I came up with a plan to make a bit of money for ourselves organising parties. We hired out nightclubs on weekends and tried to fill them. Sixteen’s probably a bit young to be doing this, but we used to fill them with 300 or 400 people each paying £20 to get in. We could go back to school with money in our pockets.
When I went to university, I still had my club nights. I was studying business at Imperial College London and hated it, so I dropped out and went to work for James Palumbo, who started Ministry of Sound. I worked my way up and, within a year, was opening Ministry of Sounds in Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok and Hurghada in Egypt. That’s where I really got a taste for nightclubs and I haven’t looked back.