Party goers can enjoy an elegant retro dinner before dancing the night away when one of Stoke-on-Trent’s most popular nightclubs finally reopens.
But for now, Gossip in Hanley is operating like an ad after the government shelved plans to completely lift restrictions on coronaviruses for four weeks.
Carl Gratty, who took over the Hope Street nightclub with her husband Dominic in December 2016, says the venue has undergone a number of improvements during the pandemic.
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An area once used as a way to move from one part of the LGBT + venue to another has been transformed into a 1950s-themed diner.
Meanwhile, the beer garden has also been renovated to give it a tropical feel.
Carl admits it will be a big party when the place can function as a nightclub again – and says the government’s decision to delay “Freedom Day” has been “extremely disappointing.”
He said: “So many clubs have just died and it is a real shame.
“You still have your licenses to pay and the maintenance of the building. Then there is the rent.
“We received government grants, but it cost us a fortune to stay closed. We have used that time wisely and with the little money we have, we have done renovations. We have made about 25 £ 000 of improvements. “
Before the first lockdown, Carl was on the verge of throwing a Gossip at Southend – but luckily he hadn’t made a deal.
However, the Hanley Gossip continues to open seven nights a week as a ‘party pub’, offering booth packages, food, drink and quiz nights.
He said: “We had to become a late night pub rather than a late night party place.
“We have a lot of tables and people can place their orders with an app.
“We have 50% less capacity due to guidelines and life safety – and you need a lot of staff to do that.
“It was a nightmare and it made me intoxicated!”
Carl says the team can’t wait to be a full nightclub again so clubbers can see the improvements.
He added: “The new restaurant was previously just an access hall and was a waste of space. After being in a 1950s themed restaurant in America, I thought it would be great. to have something like that here.
“We had built the beer garden at the end of 2019, then we couldn’t use it properly until now and people liked it.”
For Carl and the rest of the Gossip team, the challenge of Covid has been grueling.
He added, “I felt like the biggest Grinch in the world, telling people to sit down and remind them of face covers!
“When this is all over, I’ll make sure I have an evening of rest and can just walk around with a beer talking to people. It will be amazing when we can turn up that sound system.
“There have been generations who have missed out on going out to clubs and being able to sing, dance and build their confidence. Our goal has always been to be a safe club where everyone from all walks of life is welcome. people need the interaction. “