Nightingale celebrates first birthday with new owners

Owners of Birmingham’s biggest gay nightclub the Nightingale are celebrating their first anniversary since rescuing the well known city venue.

Lawrence Barton

Nightingale celebrates first birthday with new owners

Since buying the Kent Street Club 12 months ago owner Lawrence Barton says there has been a substantial boost in the numbers of clubbers going through its doors.

Visitors to the Nightingale, which went into administration in November 2011 are up by more than 25 per cent over the past year, they say.

The Birmingham businessman, whose family business GB Holdings Ltd runs five other venues in Southside, has invested heavily in the club and says the hard work is paying off.

Mr Barton said: “Footfall through the door has grown by 25 per cent since taking over at the end of last year.  The club now regularly attracts in excess of 1,000 clubbers most Saturdays.”

The 2,000 capacity venue has instigated new theme nights as well as introducing The Midlands Big Gay Night Out which has seen hundreds of revelers bussed in from more than 16 cities and towns into Southside to boost business.

Clubbers from London, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol are turning to the club and visiting Birmingham thanks to the Nightingale’s initiative.

Lawrence Barton, club owner, said: “The idea of this event is to get clubbers into the city and show them what the Nightingale has to offer as well as other bars and venues in Southside.”

He says numbers are also up thanks to a much improved entertainment offer. The club is also attracting acts including Little Mix, The Saturdays, Stooshe, Brit and MOBO award winner Lemar, Lawson, Marcus Collins and Stacey Solomon, as well as impromptu appearances from celebrities visiting the city.

Mr Barton, who runs the successful Loft Lounge, Penthouse and Village Inn venues in Southside as well as the Urban Kitchen, launched a new venture in Hurst Street called Queer Street, formerly the Purple Bar & Lounge, in September.

Barton, who is Birmingham Pride’s director and sits on the board of Southside BID, today said; “It has been a very demanding first year and there is still a lot to do at the Nightingale in terms of boosting visitor numbers and enhancing the entertainment offer but it is very welcome to see we are heading in the right direction in our first year. We are planning a very special New Year’s Eve party here with around 2,000 expected to join us and celebrate the Nightingale’s first anniversary in style.”