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Casino Nightclub Shock Closure Announced, ‘Last Dance’ on Saturday, July 8

Published on: 24 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 24 Jun, 2023

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford’s Casino Nightclub has announced it will close its doors for the last time on Saturday, July 8.

It is the largest club of its type in Surrey with a 1,500 capacity. The announcement was made on Thursday, June 22.

Casino Nightclub in Guildford. “It’s the end of an era” said fans of the nightclub after the shock announcement it would close on July 8.

Formerly Harpers, named after the building’s owner Michel Harper, the current nightclub was opened in 2017 by Ian Forward after he leased the premises from Harper. He employs about 40 staff, going up to 60 at peak times.

The somewhat surprise announcement was made on the nightclub’s Facebook page, saying: “The final weekend and the last dance” for the club would be July 8. Entry is to be £2 only and all drinks will be £1.

The announcement included: “It comes with great sadness that we announce the closing of Casino Nightclub. We have stood here for many years bringing you some great memories but the time has come for a new beginning.

“We thank everyone for your loyalty to us as a venue and we hope you will join us for our final weekend.”

Reaction on social media has been mixed with some calling the building an “eyesore” and calling for it to be demolished. Others on the nightclub’s Facebook page were much more nostalgic and sad that it was “the end of an era”.

One person posting on its Facebook page, wrote: “Wow, I was there when Cheryl Cole punched our lovely toilet attendant. Good memories.” Another wrote: “We had some great nights out.”

The club won the Experience Guildford Best Bar None overall winner in 2022 and the Best Late Night Venue accolade, considered by many to to be mainly down to the leadership of Ian Forward.

The closure of the club has raised questions over the fate of the landmark building on the corner of Onslow Street and Bridge Street. The site has a long planning history with Michel Harper twice withdrawing planning applications for the site, known as The Quadrant.

A proposal for an eight-storey “leisure and entertainment complex” including a casino was allowed on appeal in 2004 and is still in place. A 14-storey proposal including student accommodation was withdrawn at appeal in 2019.

In 2021, a further application for a 10-storey development including shops, offices, student accommodation, a public house, a nightclub and casino and leisure areas including a cinema, concert hall, and bingo hall was withdrawn after faults were said to have been found in the design.

The Dragon has asked nightclub owner Ian Forward, and the building’s owner Michel Harper, for a comment on the closure.

See Indie of the Month: Running the Casino ‘People Said I was Brave but I was Terrified’ (Jan 2023).

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Responses to Casino Nightclub Shock Closure Announced, ‘Last Dance’ on Saturday, July 8

  1. Frank Emery Reply

    June 24, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Now all that’s needed is for the rest of that grotty area cleaned up and make the walk from the station something to behold. Why can’t GBC utilise the Old Orleans site instead of leaving unused for years?

  2. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    June 28, 2023 at 1:13 am

    Before that it was a bingo hall, a dance hall and, when first built, the Plaza Cinema. I once saw 14 films in a single week there (pre TV). Double bill Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Same again Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a fresh double bill just on Sunday.

    There were also three other cinemas in town: the Odeon, the Playhouse and another opposite the old police station which changed names at least twice, maybe more. Wonder what it was before that. Part of the brewery perhaps?

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