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New nightclub set to open in Newbury

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THERE is a real buzz at Newbury’s newest nightclub Hive – set to open for the first time next Friday after many months of preparation.

The club, in the old Liquid venue off Market Street, has undergone a £400,000 makeover, with a new DJ booth, new sound and light systems, a new VIP area, refurbished bars, new flooring and TVs, while some walls have been removed and the ceilings lifted.

The club has a capacity of 1,200 and is split into two separate rooms, Hive and Citizen – Hive acting as the main attraction with a DJ and contemporary chart music and Citizen as the throwback area, full of guilty pleasures and party anthems.

The Hive - Newbury - Owner Chris Godwin Ref: 28-1421 (49204808)
The Hive - Newbury - Owner Chris Godwin Ref: 28-1421 (49204808)

At the heart of the project is 25-year-old Chris Godwin, a young yet relatively experienced entrepreneur who’s been working in the pubs and nightclubs business for nine years.

Mr Godwin, who was born in Southampton and now lives in Andover, but went to The Clere school in Burghclere, set up the Hive company last July after running a venue in Cheltenham.

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News about his latest venture, he said he wanted the nightclub to be “something for everyone”.

The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133186)
The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133186)

He said: “We want anyone to be able to walk in here, of any age, and feel welcome, in either room, the corridor or the smoking area.

“I want them to be able to come in and have a good time with whoever they’re with. I don’t want anyone to feel alienated, that’s what kills clubs.

“This is about giving people somewhere to go to have a good time. You can have a bloody good night in your home town, you don’t need to travel.”

Mr Godwin said he spotted a gap in the market in Newbury after Liquid and then The Vault closed down, leaving just Zinc in the Market Place as the town’s only nightclub.

The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133219)
The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133219)

As well as offering classic Friday and Saturday nights out, Mr Godwin is planning secret cinemas and comedy nights for the venue.

He continued: “There’s nowhere of this size, this scale, this capacity, of this magnitude in this town.

“We have so many things to pull out of the bag – I don’t think Newbury knows quite what’s going to hit it.

The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133190)
The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133190)

“We’re trying to build ourselves around the biggest acts, the biggest atmosphere, the best sound systems – one that doesn’t hurt your ears of course.

“We want to be quite diverse and we want to be something for Newbury, not just something Newbury uses.

“We’re the biggest, we’re going to be the best and we’re going to keep pushing until we have everybody in this town with both hands in the air ready for another night.”

The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133224)
The Hive - Newbury.Ref: 28-1421.. (49133224)

Hive will open for the first time next Friday – four days after almost all coronavirus restrictions are lifted in England.

Nightclubs are being urged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to check guests’ ‘Covid passports’ – ensuring someone has either been double vaccinated, received a recent negative Lateral Flow Test result or recently recovered from the virus.

However, these aren’t yet mandatory.

Mr Godwin said Hive’s ID system would link with test and trace, staff would be tested regularly, hand sanitiser would be spread through the building and the wearing of masks would be strongly advised but not enforced.

He said he was still waiting for final guidance from the Government, and was hopeful that by Monday there would be clarity on what the club should be doing.

He added: “I’ve spoken to several other late night operators and we’re all in the same boat – we can do our best but we don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong.

“We’re pretty much on our own, and follow the guidance as best we can.”

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