Along with PRYZYM, the basement venue Bacchus, just off the Market Place, remains one of only two nightclubs remaining in Kingston town centre after a string of closures in the last twenty years. Today its combination of alternative music nights and tightly packed environs ensure it remains a popular venue away from the mainstream, particularly with the student community.
However the colourful history of this venue stretches back at least to the 1970s when a pub called The Crown occupied the building above, running its basement as a club offering known as Jesters. In the 1980s The Crown was closed, but the venue below remained, rebranded as Bacchus and operating as a wine and blues bar.
Current owner Julian Slawinski became involved at the start of the 1990s, introducing regular DJ nights through the contacts he had made playing at the Yellow Heaven Soup Kitchen on Richmond Road. Around the same time, a Hounslow based pop rock band named Dodgy also started a regular series of nights at Bacchus. The legendary ‘Dodgy Nights’ would kick-start their career, culminating in a record deal that saw them release the hits “Staying Out For The Summer” and “Good Enough”.
Listen to testimony that celebrates the quirky history of Kingston’s smallest nightclub.
Present day owner Julian Slawinski spoke to AMP Kingston about his personal journey from DJing at another eccentric venue in town, the Yellow Heaven Soup Kitchen, to putting on regular nights at Bacchus, before eventually running the place.
Nigel Clark is lead singer of pop rock outfit Dodgy, best known for their 1996 hit Good Enough, which charted at number 4 in the UK Top 40. Nigel spoke to AMP Kingston about how the band can trace their early years of success to a residency in Bacchus, having discovered the venue whilst seeking their very own version of the ‘Cavern Club’.