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The fleeting shelf life of Bristol's favourite clubs

Here today, gone tomorrow: Epigram Features explore why so many students' beloved clubs have gone under significant rebranding in the last five years

By Emily Vernall, Online Features Editor & Hannah Worthington, Online Editor

Here today, gone tomorrow: Epigram Features explore why so many students' beloved clubs have gone under significant rebranding in the last five years.

From Lizard Lounge to Bunker, nightclubs in the triangle and beyond continually shift in management, name, and branding despite their sustained popularity among students.

September 20 2018 signalled the revival of Lizard Lounge, a club renowned among the student population as your triangle pit stop for cheese and cheap entry. Last January, Lizard Lounge was a hot topic among students as it announced a sudden rebranding to The Lounge, Clifton in an effort to appear a more upmarket establishment. However, the ensuing art deco interiors and new name proved to be a short-lived experiment. As of Thursday, Lizard Lounge is back in action.

This raises the question as to why so many Bristol club venues renovate themselves when students continue their old legacy.

Many third year students and above continue to call the club perched on the corner of Queen's Road 'Bunker', despite the fact it rebranded nearly 3 years ago. Known as The Bunker since 2009, the club has since undergone two name-changing transformations: the short-stinted Analog and what is now currently Gravity. As each management has taken over, the club has pulled in more famous faces. The 2017 venue opening of Gravity attracted Made in Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Alex Mytton, suggestive that re-branding does provide greater publicity. In a similar strategic move to The Lounge, Clifton, Bunker/Gravity seem to have followed suit in the desire for premium service.

Yet there is a difference in opinion among year groups. Last year's Freshers do generally, according to News Editor Imogen Horton, call the nightclub by its new name: 'I only knew it as Bunker due to my History family system. The older students referred to "Bunker Monday's", whereas many now-second years think of it as BED at Gravity.' Will Bunker soon disappear as new students start referring the club by its official name?

For those who joined Bristol in the class of 2014/15, you may remember SWX as Syndicate on Nelson Street. Syndicate, after 9 years in operation, shut its doors after a final closing party in August 2015.

Although the club successfully revamped itself as SWX, many fear that the monopoly of closures and subsequent take-overs is part of a larger nationwide trend. Figures from BBC Newsbeat show that the number of clubs in the UK has dramatically decreased. From data taken in 2015, there were 1,733 venues compared to 3,144 ten years prior. This would suggest millennials are beginning to abandon the once indispensable night club scene.

Image: Canva / Hannah Worthington

Despite closures across Bristol, Motion, situated behind Temple Meads, retains its status as the 16th best night club in the world. Yet 5 years ago, the drum and bass venue was simply a skatepark - perhaps the most significant interior development of all!

Is Lizard Lounge here to stay? What is the future for Bristol Clubs - have your say in the comments below.

Featured Image: Epigram / Hannah Worthington

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