Sugarhouse is Lancaster’s sugar daddy


In these hard, recession ravaged financial times, Lancaster’s many nightclubs are floundering and struggling to convince (over)paying punters to thrust and bust their nights away.

That’s the excuse that Cuba gave when they were forced to close after large attendances failed to remain consistent after their ill-fated re-opening night. I briefly showed up that night, and I can say that Lancaster’s buzzing nightlife shows no signs of thinning out because of the recession. Don’t forget that the clubs in the city are largely filled with people who have £3,000 a year at their disposal, with pocket money from part time work on top of that. No, the main reason that Cuba was poorly attended and shut down (and I’m glad it did) is because it was totally unfit for its purpose: housing hundreds of drunken, horny students.

There are people like myself, who attend clubs out of an unexplainable sense of necessity. Some people know they have had a good night out when they wake up blind in one eye and wondering why their bathroom has been painted green. I know I have had a good night out when I’ve smoked 20 cigarettes and sold at least five at a pound each. Cuba was so small and unnavigable, and taking in such excessive amounts of people, that it was a struggle for me to actually get outside and smoke.

Odour and company issues aside, The Sugarhouse, Elements and The Lounge are my favoured nests, because it’s just wide enough for me to head outside at my leisure without having to formulate some kind of strategic plan. Even if you’re not smoking that night, each of them offer nice, secluded and open areas for people to take a breather from Tinie Tempah (and little else) and have an audible conversation. Cuba was the Room 101 of the club scene. All of the sweat, cramp, tinnitus and epilepsy of nightclubs thrust upon your paralysed, drunken self and no option to stroll away from it for a while.

It’s not just aesthetic attractiveness that has made “Comin’ Sugar?” synonymous with a Friday or Saturday night at Lancaster University. The reason I chose Lancaster University is because it is campus based. I don’t have to share my vicinity with non-student sorts. What with The Sugarhouse being the student nightclub (and promoted as such), you run less of a risk of running in to someone who intends to incite some violence.

This may sound hysterical, but I have personally encountered homophobes at the Lounge’s gay/bi night, who were thankfully thrown out before they caused damage. I once shared an evening in Wetherspoons with a pair of female friends, who were approached by a gentleman who tried to impress them by reeling off a list of his convictions for violence and theft. The Freshers’ Week campus and pack is adorned with Sugarhouse’s name, and familiarity comes from the first experience. Sugarhouse was the first club many freshers went to, and force of habit plays a large part in its popularity.

Sugarhouse’s student-only policy and line-up of big, beefy bouncers who don’t take silliness, offers the security and assurance that no one is going to come in and slip some Rohypnol into your rum and coke. Elements and The Lounge, for all their charm and accessible smoking facilities, don’t have enough bouncers on the floor to offer the attentiveness a safe night requires.

And if we must use the economy as a catch all reason for the making or breaking of every little tinpot venture that sprouts from beneath the soil, then value for money (apart from entry fees which I absolutely abhor) is what clinches the victory for Sugarhouse and Elements. 94p nights, 1p entry night. No one would turn down the chance to get battered for that price. Drinks are relatively reasonably priced, and relativity is important when you consider the extortion that other spots offer.

And on top of all that, you get a free bus back at the end of it. As I said, they’re far easier to leave.

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  1. Cuba didn’t close down because it wasn’t a haven for students who smoke or because it was cramped; the ‘cattling’ policy the Sugarhouse use is just as bad as Cuba, or for that matter anywhere else.

    The real crux of this debate lies in advertising; Sugarhouse has extensive coverage of posters, flyers and other media outlets. Clubs or bars such as Hustle, Elements etc cannot tap into this market because it’s in LUSU’s interest to promote its own nights at its own club, at the expense of other local venues.

    Perhaps a real debate about the Sugarhouse might also aim to look at the void in relations between the local community and near-by vicinities to that of the student population. Perhaps the notion that the two have a mutual distrust for one another ought to be explored.

  2. “Sugarhouse has extensive coverage of posters, flyers and other media outlets. ”

    I mentioned this, did I not?

    “Clubs or bars such as Hustle, Elements etc cannot tap into this market because it?s in LUSU?s interest to promote its own nights at its own club, at the expense of other local venues.”

    Nah ich dinnae think so cannae wee-uns. I’ve seen plenty of advertising for all the bangin’ boogie woogie establishments in the area. In fact, as I type this, my peripheral vision picks up advertisements, embedded in the LUSU run ‘’, for the Dalton Rooms, Hustle and The Lounge.

    Elements has been packed to the rifters every time I have attended. Cuba was packed when I went there for its re-opening, then people stopped going. Presumably this vast wealth of people present at its opening night remembered the club the next day. So why was it not that full on subsequent nights? Because the people who went thought it wasn’t very good and decided to stop going.

    It didn’t close down because it wasn’t a haven for smokers. That’s just the reason I hated it.

    Much best and all of it to you etc,

  3. I really can’t wait for the day when all clubs go Cuba’s way so we can finally all stop pretending we like standing around in dingy little rooms watching our friends vomit to the beat of some ‘sick dubstep’.

  4. Joe,
    Sick dubstep is rather fun, especially Tinie Tempah. It’s just difficult to enjoy because one associates it with places where you can barely hear it because of ear perforation. But I am interested to know, why are you looking forward to *other* people not going to clubs anymore, when surely your personal lack of attendance should suffice?


  5. Mainly so the people I’d like to go to pubs with will go to the pub with me. Instead of going to clubs.

    I’m so alone, Ronnie.

  6. I have a tear in my eye, Joe.


  7. Tinie Tempah isn’t dubstep.

  8. It is sick, though.

  9. Tinie Tempah is also one guy..
    Also, I have never once encountered any trouble with the Lancaster locals and its articles like this that make me ashamed to be a student in Lancaster.

  10. I just want to be able to open the paper and be able to read an article that isn’t just “OH MAN THE UNI AND EVERYTHING IT DOES IS AWESOME”, because in this case it really isn’t.

    As for your point of Sugarhouse being a safe haven for students who wish to avoid the local riffraff (and they really are) and the violence they bring. Locals aren’t the only ones capable of being violent, students are too. I’ve seen a few drunken routs break out and I know I enter the club with the intention to do harm.

    The article was sick though bro

  11. “Local riffraff”?

    Jesus Christ…what century are you from?

  12. At no point did I say it was a way of ‘avoiding the local riff raff’. But, should there be any so-called riff-raffians a’roaming, they aren’t going to get into the Sugarhouse.

    Also, it’s not even snobbery that leads me to prefer being in a place filled entirely with students. It just means I have a very, very easy way to open a conversation with someone I don’t know.

    “What College are you?”

    ^ They’re always right in the palm of my hands when I deliver that one.


  13. But yes, I do take your point that students are also capable of causing upset.


  14. Unless you mean when I said – “I don?t have to share my vicinity with non-student sorts,” which I do hope comes across in the way it was intended, and not like the ramblings of a right-wing elitist.


  15. Cuba used to be the best club in Lancaster. My first and half of my second year (2007-2008 and a little 2009ish) Cuba dominated Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday nights. Elements which was then Liquid was horrendous, you would never get served as there would be one person on the bar, it was jammed pack and just plain awful. Cuba used to do big events every Tuesday, foam parties etc. And Sugarhouse would be pretty dead on a Friday because everyone would go to Cuba.

    Shame really as it was really great. The owners of Cuba are still clinging on though as they also own LA one (not the most popular place for students!) and of course the love it or hate it club… The Carleton.

    The clubs change every other year for being popular with the majority of students. Like you say, Sugarhouse has the edge as its home to both the universities in Lancaster.

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