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After over a decade of operation as a staple of Lancaster’s nightlife, Bentley’s is no more. It has come under new management and has been transformed into Bar Chupito, a Mexican themed tequila bar, under the same ownership as Hustle. Last week we sat down with the manager of Bar Chupito to see what we could find out about Lancaster’s newest watering hole.
Why did you choose tequila, out of all the other themes on offer?
“I looked around Lancaster, obviously we’ve got hustle as well, and there’s nothing with that kind of niche market in the area. Hustle does the shots, there’s a lot of cocktail bars in Lancaster, but there was nothing that really shouted ‘tequila’, and tequila’s a very popular shot and alcohol, so we decided that that was where we were going to go, and you can do a great theme around it too.”
Who would you say is your target demographic?
“I know previously here [at Bentley’s] it was quite a large age range, though on fresher’s week they would do quite well with students, but I know it would be a lot of locals. But we’re opening it up for, I’d like to say for anyone but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s probably more 18-35 year olds I would say.”
What type of music will Chupito focus on?
“We’re going to be changing it a lot. How I’ve pictured it at the moment is the downstairs room being the Mexican bar style, while the upstairs room is more of the nightclub. So downstairs there will be a bit of Latin thrown in there, with your average charts, R&B, but upstairs in the actual nightclub room on a Friday we’ve had plenty of bookings come in from different groups. We’ve got Bass Race, and we’ve got another big Latin party upstairs in the next few weeks. There’s going to be a lot of different music styles. On Saturday there will be a 90s club night, which is kind of different. I want to open it to different audiences with different styles of music on different weeks, that’s the plan.”
What days and times are you planning to be open?
“We’re hoping to do early trade on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9pm-1am, and on Fridays and Saturdays 10pm-4am. At the moment we’re only going to be open at night, but going into summer we will be opening earlier. We have a beer garden outside, and this will be launched on a bank holiday, we’re planning to have a shisha lounge out there.”
Are you planning on having any themed nights?
“On our launch night we had fire breathers, samba dancers, a photo booth. We’ve just employed a new marketing manager who’s going to be dealing with the events, and he’s got plenty of ideas, not just during the week but weekends as well.”
Given that Lancaster is a student town, are you planning on putting on any student deals?
“Yeah absolutely. You’ll start noticing over the next few weeks a lot of the student offers going ahead, we’ll probably start on Monday, we need to get the weekend out of the way. There will definitely be a lot of student offers going on weekdays. Weekends, to be fair, we’re going to have low prices, our prices aren’t going to be too high in here, and there’s going to be a big campaign on the entry fee. There will be an entry fee, but it’s not going to be expensive, we’re going to do a big campaign where on certain weekends you won’t pay any more than £3 to get in.”
Do you have any plans for society affiliation?
“Any societies interested in coming can get in touch with our marketing manager, and we’re more than happy to sign up new societies. We took over a couple from Bentley’s which we’re keeping on, but again if any others that want to join they’re more than welcome to.”
How do you see Bar Chupito; related to Hustle, or as a separate bar?
“They’re two completely separate venues, however as the two companies are owned together, we’re going to try to help people out. As a town, people need to move around Lancaster, it’s bad when people just sit in one venue all night, you want people to move around. What we’re trying to do here is get people to come to Bar Chupito first, and if you get here in a certain time-frame we’ll give you a free stamp for hustle. They’re not going to be linked in the same events kind of thing, but let’s say Chupito is the pre-bar to Hustle. I know this weekend we’re having Chupito’s launch, and because we’re shutting here at 4, we’ll be opening hustle till 6 and hustle’s going to hold the after party for here. We will be working together in the kind of ‘entry’ levels, so we can help save people money in buying entries to both venues.”
Are you looking to branch out further in the future – potentially to campus?
“Oh, wow. That would depend on LUSU I guess, I’m not sure how the bars on campus work. I was under the impression that LUSU owned the bars on campus. If LUSU got in contact with us and asked about the Tequilas we did and if we wanted to do something with the tequilas on campus I’d be more than happy to!”