YORK’S ONLY super club, Ikon & Diva has closed indefinitely and plans have just been released for a replacement in town. This has sparked fears that a price war between the different managements will lower quality in the nightlife available to students.
Luminar Leisure, who held the triad of Ikon & Diva, Gallery and Toffs clubs now face competition from McMillan’s Ltd who plan to extend their Nexus club. The new club that would be extended to occupy the space of former Presto supermarket. The 1,750 capacity, ‘next generation’ club, is planned to have a 4am license and creates major competition for the already established nightclubs.
Ikon & Diva, which cost £3 million to build and opened in 1999, had its last popular LoveDough night on Friday 25th February where flyers were handed out to clubbers promoting The Gallery for the next Friday night. As a result nearly 40 employees have been By Elliot Taylor and Toby Green made redundant. York student, Jane Blackman, said that the news was “disappointing… (Ikon and Diva) is where everyone goes and has a great atmosphere.”
Despite being named ‘Club of the Year 1999’ the club has encountered many problems in its five year reign as York’s largest venue. Management failed to predict the demand on its opening night, and many people (including VIPs) found themselves left outside in the cold.
In April of last year two stories seriously dented Ikon and Diva’s reputation in the space of two days. First the management was fined £16,000 after being found guilty of selling sub-standard spirits.
More seriously, Mohamed Eltahtawy was killed the next night when the bus travelling from the club to York crashed as clubber James Glenton tried to take control of the wheel from the driver. At the time the York Police blamed the death on severe intoxication, brought on by a promotion at the club that offered unlimited alcohol for £10.
It has had a tumultuous time behind the scenes as well. The club has changed hands 3 times, eventually being bought by current owners in 2000, Luminar Leisure. The future of the site in Clifton Moor has been the subject of much speculation. One rumour is that there are plans for a Spearmint Rhino strip club to be built. Luminar refused to be drawn on this, commenting that there ‘are no plans for the current site at the moment’. Spearmint Rhino were unavailable for comment.
The new club, which will be situated on the corner of George Hudson Street and Tanner Row, is applying for a 4pm to 4am license, with the possible exception of a 3am license on Sundays. This will see the McMillan’s Club becoming the largest venue with the latest closing time in York. Peter Brownsword, manager of Nexus and McMillan’s Bar, commented that the expansion of Nexus and the closure of Ikon & Diva was ‘coincidental’.
The new Nexus club will boast two lounge bars and a new 950-capacity clubroom. The dance floor will be on the first floor, and there are plans for a coffee-bar area to accommodate clubbers in warmth and safety while waiting for taxis.
Many new job opportunities will be created with plans for late night street cleaners and street marshals co-ordinating taxis for those waiting to go home. Modelled on a system already in place in Manchester, this is hoped to make nights out in York more enjoyable and safe.
Rumours of replacement venues for Ikon & Diva in York have been quashed by Luminar Leisure. In an interview with nouse, a spokeswoman said that there was no need for another venue “since we have two great student venues in York continuing to provide great student nights.” She also promised that the company would increase ‘student provision’ in Toffs and The Gallery. These efforts will have to be genuine if the clubs are to compete with the new club.
Current Services Officer, Verity Radley, accepted that as a result of Ikon and Diva’s closure, Fresh, the pivotal event of Fresher’s Week that has recently been staged at the club, will be “a different style… but no doubt it will be just as good. I don’t think it will create a problem, YUSU are used to switching between venues”.
Luminar refused to go into any more details for Ikon and Diva’s closure other than that it was for ‘economic reasons’. Some people have suggested that its location may have been a problem, a 15 minute bus journey from the city centre. However this was denied; ‘its location wasn’t a factor… it has remained consistently successful’.