Cocoa to replace cocktails in a ‘family-friendly’ night scene?

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Though he was not a regular at the night club, the closure of Tiger Tiger is a sad sign for the town centre, says LEWIS WHITE

tiger-tiger-logoIt’s a shame when a business closes and leaves a hole in the High Street. At least at Croydon’s Tiger Tiger, following yesterday’s announcement of its closure, we are told that their staff will be offered jobs at the chain’s other venues.

Maybe today’s club-going youth take advantage of an excellent train service and go clubbing “Up West” (as they say on EastEnders). Or maybe they, too, are tired of scenes of early morning vomit, police having to be called, and the £7 cocktails. Or maybe they prefer to be alone with a mobile phone in their (parents’) rooms, and chatting with virtual “friends”, avoiding the need for face-to-face shouted attempts at communication across a 100 decibel wall of noise.

Maybe a quiet club, with cocoa instead of cocktails, is what they really want–which opens at 6 and shuts at midnight. and has clean toilets, sockets to recharge phones and tablets at every table, ping-pong, and a video screen to keep in Skype contact with Mum and Dad. Somewhere safe and unchallenging.

Is cocoa rather than cocktails, or clubs with creches, what Tony Newman, Croydon’s council leader, had in mind when he spoke of “a more family-friendly” night-time economy? Newman has said that Tiger Tiger had become “something of a dated brand”.

Newman said, “It’s closure very much reflects changing times.” Is he foreseeing clubs with creches?

And yet: there’s never been any complaints of “lack of footfall” – meaning customers – when illegal raves have been staged in any of the many vacant office blocks around the town centre, offering something more than over-priced drinks and the latest chart music.

The old Grants area is blighted by the massive dead-zone over the road – also known as St George’s walk. Heh! Got it! How about zombie-themed raves in St George’s? That would pull the new youth in to dear old Croydon, and give a boost to the night-time economy of hot dog vans and kebab shops.

Thing of the past: according to Tony Newman, Croydon wants a more family friendly night-time economy. Clubs with creches, perhaps?

According to Tony Newman, Croydon wants a family-friendly night-time economy. Clubs with creches, perhaps?

Seriously, there must be a knock-on effect when a new shopping centre opens – just as the Whitgift Centre sounded the death knell for Grants in the 1960s. Then the Drummond Centre, latterly Centrale, added to the shopping over-capacity. So Whitgift suffered.

Even while Nestlé was fully staffed in the tower above it, St George’s Walk was always tenuous in viability. The closure of another club, never to be re-opened, the Blue Orchid, was an early sign of the decline. St George’s Walk has been on life support for years.

The Walk’s near-derelict condition will not have helped Tiger Tiger and its High Street neighbours, Black Sheep and Yates, which have also closed.

What will Westfield do to the other areas? And the shipping container Boxpark — will it bring in new shoppers, or bleed the other areas dry?

With t’internet now taking a lot of real-life shopping footfall away from the high street – and from the “Malls” – we probably have far too many shops in central Croydon, as well as the unwanted offices. Hence flats are filling up the latter.

Could we be bold, and just knock the really ugly bits down (particularly Centrale and everything behind it down the hill to the north of Crown Hill), and build a new mini-city with flats, houses and green spaces – or what others call gardens? It would get rid of a load of boring shops and create a lot of space for houses and flats for the ex-teenagers who once came to Tiger Tiger, but want to move out from the parental home (and who can blame them?).

Creativity with a wrecking ball, a bulldozer and a load of trees in central Croydon. Yep, that could do a lot of good.

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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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3 Responses to Cocoa to replace cocktails in a ‘family-friendly’ night scene?

  1. Given the rise of online dating & the rather more difficult financial situation faced by today’s under-25s, the suburban nightclub is about as relevant to modern society as the VHS recorder, the chain bookstore or, some might say, the giant indoor shopping mall.

    From what I can remember of clubbing (OK, was a while ago), there were basically three reasons to go. A drink with your mates – far easier to do at home, costs a quarter as much & no chance of getting trouble from thugs, bouncers or both — and if you care about what you’re drinking, hipster pubs have better booze than clubs ever did. Attracting the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you prefer).. spending £50 on a night out with a high chance of going home alone makes about as much sense in 2016 as spending £15 on a CD from a band you’ve never heard but a friend of a friend said was good. For the former there’s Tinder, the latter Spotify.

    And staying out all night & getting messed up on dodgy substances.. no doubt still happens, but mainstream suburban clubs were never really the place. From what the youngsters tell me, weekend-long raves in out-of-the-way places have mostly taken over – hard for places to keep their licence if the business model is playing drum and bass til 6am to a room full of mashed-up drug casualties. Who don’t buy enough £7 cocktails either.

    • The key elements in all this are money and music.

      Inside Croydon conducted a straw poll. Well, we asked four locals, all aged under-23.

      We were surprised that all four held Tiger in similar disdain to us: ie. they wouldn’t choose to go there if they could avoid it, because it is over-priced and “only plays chart music”.

      All expressed regret that Black Sheep was closed (which was due to building change of use, rather than trading issues).

  2. mraemiller says:

    Next week: isn’t it sad Cinatras has gone ….no

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