Thursday, September 22, 2016

Clubs seem to be having a harder time

Prompted by a recent post on my forum on anecdotal evidence that clubs are disappearing, I did a bit of research on that topic, but before we get to that, I'd like to share some of my observations.

I have been aware that gentrification is a prime cause for club closures. Central London was hit pretty hard due to the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road tube station, for instance. In addition, the authorities cracked down on clubs in Soho, leading to the closure of clubs that have been around for decades, such as Madame Jojo's. Their Tuesday night was one of my favorite nights out in London. When I was living in Berlin, I witnessed first-hand the effects of gentrification, forcing many clubs to either permanently close or move. The pattern was always more or less the same: renovations, redevelopments, new renters or owners of apartments close to clubs. Those uptight high-strung people moved to Berlin to experience some of its "cool". Yet, the moment they figure out that this means loud crowds in the neighborhood, they've had it, and file complaints with the authorities.

There are two more trends that don't quite gel with a vibrant nightlife: people struggling to get by, and social media addiction. Youth unemployment or underemployment is quite an issue in many Western countries. It is nowadays not at all uncommon that people move back in with their parents after finishing their degrees. If you live somewhere in the 'burbs, with no place on your own, and not enough funds, you'll probably not often be in the mood to party anyway. Furthermore, there is the phenomenon that many young women love going to night clubs because of all the attention they are getting. However, these days they don't need to even leave the house for that anymore. Instead, they only need to take a couple selfies, put them on Instagram or Facebook, and watch the 'likes' come in. This gets them the same attention-induced high they would be getting in a club, and if they want to get laid but Frat-Chad can't find a spot in his schedule, then there is always Tinder.

I am obviously painting in rather broad strokes, but the evidence seems pretty clear. As a consequence, nightlife is becoming more homogenized because if you address the lowest common denominator, you'll probably always find enough customers. Now, going back to the opening sentence of this post: I have been looking around, and dug up that in the UK, in the last ten years, around 45% of clubs have closed:
In 2005, there were 3,144 clubs across the UK compared to the 1,733 that stand today, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), an organisation which represents venues.

That's quite a bit. I would be interested in looking at more detailed data. You could probably develop a causal model that ties together club closures and social media consumption, following a chain of effects from women spending more time online and using other sources of attention to men going out less because of dwindling numbers of females, and finally clubs closing. Maybe you could even tease out a nice decay function. Of course, all of this is speculation. That clubs are dying is real, though.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Keep in mind that comments are moderated.
(Also, if you’ve got a comment that is off-topic or only tangentially related to this article, then please post in the most recent Open Thread. Thank you.)


  1. Hi Aaron

    What about the statistical 'binning' between clubs versus, say, bars? Some corollary data on this would be revealing. If there are also less bars, then something hugely significant is going on.

    Regarding social media, I think Tinder would probably have more to do with the decline than "fishing for likes"; I'm speculating, however. I've also heard that in some Western countries alcohol consumption has declined since the 80s. This could well be another reason.

    Lastly, Id like to hear your take on this (from an interesting blog, btw)

    1. Interesting remarks! Since clubs house much more people than bars, and there is arguably no drastic increase in the number of bars, it seems safe to conclude that people are going out less often.

      Yes, I also think that Tinder is a corroborating factor of the decline of clubs, essentially cutting out the middle man. However, you will find plenty of women on all dating sites who only want to feed off the attention they are getting.

      I had a look at that article. This hypothesis seems to be the most convincing one:
      "(1) many American Millennials, if they marry, marry late, and many are unemployed and some even living with their parents (Twenge et al. 2016, p. 5), and so have reduced social opportunities for sex;"

      The Great Recession hit a lot of graduates hard. It is still not over, as, for instance, is witnessed by the boom of service sector jobs that don't pay proper wages. Of course your dating prospects are much reduced if you go from being Frat-Chad to wearing a Starbucks or McDonald's uniform.

  2. I'd say that guys waking up to "pussy being overrated" & "porn is better than most chicks" are a huge factor too.

    It isn't just that girls dressed slutty to get male attention. But guys also went to clubs so they can see sluttily dressed girls as well. With HD porn that's no longer that special... not worth dressing up, waiting in line for, and paying a fee in order to see it.

    Remember, most club guys in the history of clubs never got a single lay. The guys getting laid were always the minority. Most guys went for the factor of "omg i get to see a slutty-dressed chick in real life". With of course a faint hope of maybe potentially something happening by freak chance.

    1. I think you guys should a story about seddit, r/seduction; I just recently discovered one of the mods/important people there got in trouble recently with the law. They encourage all this club/game bullshit...

      Like here is a story that I have a hard time believing in, that I came across there recently:

      I didn't know CS guys were, or skinny nerds that were only average looking, studying CS were pulling 10 models aspiring to be victoria secret angels.....

      Can you see through the bullshit here, Alek, like really easily?

    2. I just skimmed it. Overall, it seemed way too try hard, and full of game fallacies. No, a girl does not get hot for you because you don't show any interest. I had to laugh when I read that said girl walked in with two "AFCs" who looked like MMA fighters and in the end chose him because, apparently, he was so unmanly and disinterested in sex.

    3. I have had access in the past to many private PUA forums with big name PUAs. I've seen the kinds of chicks they drool over and call "models". They're sixes with tons of makeup/slutty clothing basically. (i can accept that by someone's taste they might be as high as sevens, but no more)

      To me a model is a chick who can make a living off of her looks. To PUAs a girl is a model/nine, if she knows how to put on tight clothing and a lot of makeup.

  3. One of the big clubs in london has closed down recently, Fabric a mainstream club, due to two 18 years dying from overdosing. So one cause would be the crack down on drugs.

    Problem with clubs in london, is a london thing. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and most expensive in uk. Going out for a typical night out would probably set some one back around 50 to 100£ if you go to bars, drink, club fee, uber back, food etc. That is a lot of money, considering how the majority of londoners will not have the disposable income (After rent and bills) from their wages.

    I think the trend is not to have proper clubs, but to have bars/pubs which turn in to a clubs. One, the cost is cheaper for the oweners, and two, there is not as much hassle or cost for the public. So people are just being more selective in terms of their money.

    This will get worse, as I think more and more clubs are starting to enforce a no drunk entry. So if you have been drinking a fair bit before going to a club, which everyoene does, then you will not be allowed in. Mainly for the club to get more people to pay the extortionate prices for drinks when inside.

    Most of the times, people will go out to bar, and head back to some ones home and party there, and if there is small or free bar/club locally, will head there for a bit or stay at the house party. It is cheaper, people feel safer, drugs are easier to get, peopl know each other (well everyone is vouched for), and it is easier to pick up girls.


    1. Great comment!

      I didn't know that Fabric has closed, too. To me drug and alcohol related incidents often used as a pretense to close premises. The same happened to Madame Jojo's and others. If you want to crack down on drugs, you better target the source.

  4. I think another factor contributing to this is all the social discovery sites (like Yelp), which ends meaning places get outed much sooner, which leads to a lot of mainstream people rushing to the place, and killing the vibe so to speak.

    I feel the real action these days is really at house parties.

    1. That's a good point, which I hadn't considered. The mainstream crowd is certainly good at ruining the vibe of a place.


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