A quarter of London’s clubs lost since Covid pandemic began

A quarter of London’s clubs lost since Covid pandemic began

London has lost almost a quarter of its nightclubs since the pandemic started, a report has revealed.

There are 198 venues operating as nightclubs in the capital, the fewest since the mid-Nineties, according to figures from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). That is a fall of 22 per cent from 256 in 2019, before Covid struck.

Industry bosses fear London risks losing its reputation as one of the world’s premier clubbing capitals.

Nightclubs were forced to shut for 16 months, from March last year to this July, in one of the longest enforced closures of any sector.

Since being allowed to reopen, on July 19, London clubs have been hit by the track and trace “pingdemic”, post-Brexit staff shortages, the absence of Night Tube services at the weekend, the end of the rent moratorium and an emptier than usual West End.

Nightclubs that have shut for good include Café de Paris, in Coventry Street in the West End, which folded in December after nearly a century, and the Norbury in Croydon which had been going for 25 years.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said most of the larger premises had survived for now, but the financial strain had proved too much for dozens of smaller, quirkier independent clubs.

He said: “Nightclubs throughout this pandemic have been disproportionately targeted as high risk settings without substantive evidence, almost ostracised publicly. The Government’s lack of understanding of this sector has led to ill-informed decision-making and businesses being marginalised or lost forever.”

Separate figures published this week in the hospitality sector’s Monthly Recovery Monitor, from property advisers CGA and management consultants AlixPartners, show the number of licensed premises across the UK fell by 1,000 between July and September.

Nightclubs were particularly badly hit with the national total down by nearly 100 to just over 1,000, a drop of nine per cent in three months.

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