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How pioneering Colchester gay club Vallies bucks the trend
WITH Colchester nightclubs increasingly struggling for crowds, some might have thought Paul Jackson and Daniel Cox were mad to open Vallies Lounge last year.
They don’t look silly now, enjoying their best crowd recently and looking forward to what promises to be a resurgence in the club’s fortunes.
For many years, Club Valentino was a popular haunt. Its location in St Helen’s Street, in the Dutch Quarter, away from the High Street bustle, was part of its attraction.
Vallies, as it became known, also had a laid-back, lounge-style feel, which people hooked into.
Paul explains: “Daniel and I grew up in the town and remember it fondly.
“It became well known for providing a good night out and that was why it was so successful for so many years.’’ Now, according to Paul, that reputation is returning.
“It was more of a challenge than we expected,” Paul admits.
“My background is business (Paul has been running magic and party shop Bags O’ Fun, in Head Street, Colchester for ten years).
“Daniel has worked in bars for years, but we knew we had to market the club a little differently for it to succeed.”
Which is why, when they opened last August, the rebranded Vallies Lounge became the town’s only weekly gay club.
Paul adds: “Marketing it to a specific crowd has really worked.
“There’s nothing else like us in the area.
“We’ve found we’re getting people from as far afield as Ipswich, Chelmsford, Brentwood and Norwich.
“What’s interesting is we are also starting to get non-gay couples and locals who used to come here before.”
Vallies Lounge is open Friday to Sundays. For more information, call 0845 0943650.