Bad Apple looks good, but sounds a little bland

CHRIS WILCOX likes the look of Croydon’s latest nightclub. But the music…

I’m known for being a Goth (punk type), who likes Industrial (a bit like Heavy Metal) and dance music, who also loves his 80s and Motown. I even love classical music, and have been known to disappear for whole summers during Proms season. I have socialised in many a club, from deepest, darkest, spookiest backstreet punk venues to the more modern mainstream almost wine bars.

And that is why I like the Bad Apple, Croydon’s newest bar and night club.

Well, so far.

As with any new club, I had concerns about the drug factor. Much as I’ve known some lovely party people in the past, where there be drugs, there be suppliers. So I’m very pleased to say Bad Apple security appears to be very much on the ball with a very through procedure on entry. I’m pretty sure there is CCTV in there as well, so they are taking customer safety very seriously. As previous bars on the site have witnessed two deaths in the past decade, that’s very reassuring.

The bar itself is very well stocked. There is a massive choice. From the £10 a shot special Johnnie Walker I seem to remember being mentioned, right the way down to the pint at £2.60, if you have your discount card.

Ah yes, a Discount Card. Or, as they call it, “The Core Card”. Available free on the door if you register. Carry one, and get a reduction in your booze prices. Handy eh? They’re building up a membership, as well as creating a safe environment.

The bloke in the loos offering you a freshen up is a little worrying when you’re trying to pee ( is it just me that does not like that?), but generally it’s actually very well done.

But there remains some confusion. They’ve done a lovely job, but the décor reminds me of a Rocky Horror-sort of scene or a Tim Burton film. Dark Snow White, women wrapped in snakes, chain mail hanging from the ceiling, ox-blood leather couches, stuff painted black and dark… The 90s Batman films, that sort of thing. And yet you have DJ Linton playing cheesy party hits. For me, that does not compute.

And yet the place is packed, so clearly it computes for others.

The music is very mainstream. Is this a good thing?

You do get punky types meeting their mates, as well as the local office girls out for a wee drinky. And I have seen no real trouble in the times I have been there, due to the excellent bouncer coverage. The seats are comfy, the service is good, so really it’s just the music that grates with me. A decent, well-run venue can fall completely if it plays the wrong tracks for too long.

For me, a few more alternative tracks on a Thursday night would be good. An alternative night on one of the less busy nights, just so people can explore more. There are so many music scenes out there that you never hear played in Croydon.

The pre-launch publicity promised “chilled-out, late-night entertainment” with magicians and burlesque acts, and “a new standard for service and style”.

This venue on Park Street is the one-time Pop World, closed since 2008, which had already gone through a range of (ultimately failed, and even tragic) incarnations down the years.

There is one thing the new venue is not. It is not a rock venue. This place is a club. It is not live gigs down the Scream Lounge. Unless the regulars warm up to different noises, I think it’s going to stay a place of cheesy party hits. And there are already many places you can go to in Croydon to get cheesy party hits. Which you would think is significant for a club promising to be “different”.

Bad Apple, from the people who brought us the Black Sheep, has excellent potential, and is well run. Bad Apple insists it will be something different. It’s even part of their mission statement. But there is no escape from music in a nightclub. People go to dance, or it would just be another pub.

Will it last? Has it spread itself too thin in catering to too many crowds? That’ll be the challenge for the management. Croydon needs some variety from the usual fare. And Bad Apple could do that with time.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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