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Report - Liquid, Envy and Chicago Rock Cafe Nightclubs, Luton - January 2018

LutEx

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Part 1 of 2


c. 2006
Image © Ian Grundy / cinematreasures.org

16-42 Gordon Street, Luton was designed by Leslie H. Kemp and opened by Union Cinemas Ltd. on 11th October 1937, three days before Union Cinemas were acquired by Associated British Cinemas (ABC). The Union was renamed the Ritz in 1949 and hosted many of the big names who used to frequent Luton including Cliff Richard, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Beatles. The Ritz became a Bingo club in 1971 followed by various nightclubs - Sands, Tropicana Beach, Colisseum and The Zone - before the building was gutted in 1999 and the building converted to its most recent form of Liquid, Envy and Chicago Rock Cafe. The recession hit Luton's nightlife hard and it has yet to recover to this day. Luminar Leisure, the club owners, went into administration in 2011 - Chicago's quickly closed and Liquid/Envy followed in 2015.

I spent a lot of my teenage weekends (and often weeknights) staggering around these places, so exploring them was a right blast from the past!




Liquid Nightclub
Liquid tended to attract the younger crowd - I stopped going when I started to feel old in there...



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A Wasted Lutex...but which one? -Liquid 2007


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The ticket desk




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The main stairwell




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Getting to the bar was a lot quicker this time round




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I remember that couch...




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The main dancefloor




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Heading upstairs to Room 2
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Behind the upstairs DJ booth, a balcony which would once have overlooked the main dance floor (new to me!)




Envy Nightclub
Envy was downstairs from Liquid and linked by a stairwell, although it had a separate entrance next door and was at different times a part of the same club and others open in its own right



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2013




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Cloakroom



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(Continued)
 

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LutEx

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#2
Part 2 of 2

Chicago Rock Cafe
Chicago's was where people went when they started to think that Liquid was too full of kids; 'Grab a granny!' the unofficial motto. It was actually an alright club with a generally older and better-natured crowd.
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2011


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The old screen and stage


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Lonely bar stool


Rest of the building
As familiar as the clubs themselves were to me, the 'backstage' parts were completely new to me and fascinating to explore!

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Chicago's kitchen


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Beautiful remnants of the original cinema can still be found


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Luton Town Hall across the road



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Down Gordon Street, towards St George's Square

---

I never thought I'd get to see this building again. Many generations of Lutonians remember it, probably mostly fondly!
Hopefully someday it will be restored to its original glory, but sadly I won't be holding my breath for that day.

-Lutex, 2018
 

ChayD

28DL Member
28DL Member
#6
I used to DJ there, right up until the end. Brings back many fond memories, such a shame that Luminar ditched it.
As of now, I understand the builders are going in and it's going to be converted to yet more unaffordable housing :(

Thanks for one last blast from the past!
 

LutEx

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
Thanks folks! Glad I got in there before the inevitable.

Yes, kept scrolling hoping for some hidden cinema epic and there it was!

Good report, I remember the days of liquid and envy, they weren't that great were they?
Cheers Dweeb, they certainly weren't the best but I enjoyed them for what they were :xgrin

I used to DJ there, right up until the end. Brings back many fond memories, such a shame that Luminar ditched it.
As of now, I understand the builders are going in and it's going to be converted to yet more unaffordable housing :(

Thanks for one last blast from the past!
Ah, there's a pretty good chance I was boucing around on the floor to you playing then! How long were you there for?

I guessed lots of flats would be the end result - either that or a giant Peri Peri shop :xgrin
 

Tanfan

28DL Member
28DL Member
#9
Wonderful report, so emotional for me to see Chicargo how it is now, used to be in there every couple weeks for years
Thank you for showing us this.
 
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