Where (not) to go in Guildford: 8 clubs and bars to avoid like herpes
Preppies, chavs, general knobs. Yep, it must be Guildford at night.
If you plan on visiting Gtown for a drinking sesh (if you say it like that, Guildford is definitely for you), then please address this post with utmost attention. Repeat after me: I solemnly vow never to attend these places, unless hopelessly inebriated and / or lack better judgement.
So let’s begin the rundown of despicable watering holes with number eight (and be sure to read the Sequel afterwards).
8. Fahrenheit 55
This place used to be cool. Up a small alleyway that you’d pass unthinkingly during daylight, Fahrenheit offered a bit of an escape from the usual tumult of Guildford High Street. Regularly, you’d get great jazz and acoustic acts playing in there, providing a great atmosphere. Sadly, it’s become yet another hole for your average shitfacer. Good music is replaced by the chart, and voilà; it turns to shit, and is absolutely packed almost every night. It’s not like it’s even cheap.
So why did every piss-head in town start descending upon this lovely seclusive place? Oh yes, because a member of every group drinking had the marvellous idea, ‘come on, let’s go to Fahrenheit because there won’t be anyone there,’ all at once. Then again, I suppose the managers aren’t complaining.
7. Tickled Ivory
‘Over 21s’ the sign reads. And at these times, I’m sure it’s a sophisticated – albeit expensive – evening out. However, come Tuesdays, it’s a different matter.
As it’s a Tuesday, which is a social vacuum in any culture, there’s naturally fuck all else to go. But thanks to relatively cheap drinks that night, a wine glass-tinking and smart attire affair becomes yet another lewd, sticky and fucking packed Guildford night out.
If you attempt to move in the throng that surrounds the bar in a quantum-tight 5 mile perimeter, you will spill your drink – either on yourself, or another patron. At which point, they will demand you buy them another drink. You should then explain that the physics inside Tickled Ivory don’t correspond to those in the outside world, and that the accident with your £3.50 cosmopolitan – which is now residing in the fibres of his polo shirt – is simply not your fault. In all honesty, you shouldn’t have been trying to be so sophisticated.
There is, on the plus side, a corking live covers band who play – but sadly, appreciation is limited to screaming the words of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ in your friend’s faces, which is what everyone else seems to do anyway.
6. The Legion
The go-to of every young person in Guildford. You’ll see me in here more often than not, though I avoid the weekends; it is packed every single time.
‘Spoons doesn’t seem able to decide if it wants to be a club, or a bar: stupidly loud music ensures that you won’t be able to have a conversation with your friends while sitting at one of the booths or tables that dominate 99% of the place, and those who are on the 3 foot-wide dance floor are having the time of their lives. ‘Spoons is constantly sticky, too – if you touch a table-top, you’ll need a crowbar if you want to go somewhere else. Which is what you’ll probably want to do.
Hahaha. Apologies, I can’t stop laughing thinking about this place. It’s unbelievably derisive that it exists in the first place.
Essentially, it’s a 70s bar that plays music from that glittery decade exclusively – although now you get 80s, and a smidge of 90s. A bit of a compromise given the horrific disco outfits the staff are made to wear.
It all adds up to make this one of the most heartbreaking clubs in the fucking universe. You will see mid-life crisis suffragetts sway boozily on the dance floor, trying to win younger men over with their afro wigs (£3 from the bar) and their ‘cheeky’ older women routine (not available from bar, but can be achieved with substantial loss of dignity). Cue that with a forty minute wait until you’re served, and you’ve got another shitty night out on your hands.
A positive that can be said is the DJ that regularly plays there; sporting a purple pimp suit and smooth bald head, he’s a motherfucker, pure and simple. It’s a shame that he’s the one who instigates the Grease megamix, every single night. Every single night.
However, the most entertaining aspect – which I can guarantee happens at least three times a weekend – are the fights on the door. Get your popcorn.
3. Platform Nine / Scrumptous / Divas
Dirty, scummy shit-hola. We’re getting into the real dirge of Guildford locales now, but don’t be afraid to continue the journey. Do be afraid, however, to enter this place, whatever guise it takes on next. It’s like a metamorphic turd: it can transform, but underneath it’s still a colossal pile of shit.
Firstly, it was simply your normal dive, eventually being shut down due to the drug cartel within. Next taking the form of a gay bar (replacing the Elm Tree), and then briefly a more lesbian-oriented establishment, the management and security here have remained complete fuckheads through its existence. Bigoted, small-minded intendance – and hobos for regulars – certify that it’ll always be a frequent resort for those with lower tastes when it comes to having a drink. For instance, my first experience here, while it was called Platform Nine, saw a wasted patron approach me within the first ten minutes and proclaim, ‘you get a choc ice, you put it on your dick. Feels great, yeah?’
I did not come up with that. This is the abode of evil, and is a black hole that will eat your soul.
2. The Casino
Michel Harper is slime. Guildford does not want, nor care for a casino to be built. It also does not care for a glamourised strip club to bookend one of its busiest streets.
I’m not against nudity whatsoever, of course – but Guildford isn’t seedy. It’s a hyped-up prep hole that thinks its a mini Kingston. However, Harper – who probably believes he’s the second coming – nonetheless named the latest incarnation of his Onslow Street nest egg, ‘The Casino.’ Because, you know, we’ll get used to there being a placed called that, so we’ll eventually just accept the idea of one actually existing. But onto the club itself.
In a word, ‘sexist’ comes to mind. Females are allowed on the beds inside (yes, there are beds – awesome), yet those with penises aren’t allowed to go near ’em. There is no reason for this. No-one is going to attempt having sex in a club right next to a spot which is heavily supervised by security. However, I use ‘supervised’ lightly as they’d rather use their time threatening expulsion to patrons who look like they’re about to fall asleep. Can you fucking blame them?
Not that it matters to me. I wouldn’t come here if Surrey was overrun by zombies, and this was the last safehouse. Drinks start at £4, and probably end near 10k for a bottle of chardonnay. You’ll feel raped from the entrance fee and cloakroom prices, too, and bouncers will not be tender, gentle or caring. The extremely busy road slap bang in front of Casino is the first stop for their victims.
So, we come to numeruno uno. The Guv’ner. The pisshole to top all pissholes. Yes, welcome to Dusk – read: Chavland.
This is the end of the road for all society. Once the nuclear apocalypse eventually happens, I’ll bet you five rashions of spam this place will still be open. The first thing that’s majorly wrong about it is its size – it’s friggin’ tiny. Therefore, if you want to get to the bar, you’ll have to grind against the Park Barn and Bellfields elite to make any progress. Everyone will have a VK, so feel free to load up on these as they’re relatively cheap. Well, that’s before the sugar ache in the pit of your stomach kicks in, and when that happens you’ll have to worry about the toilets themselves. Oh my life, the toilets. Remember that scene from Trainspotting? Someone inform Health & Safety.
But it’s definitely the clientele that make Dusk the club it is today (and Time before it.) Stripy jumper-wearing, gold chain pimpin’ scum. Do I care what these people look like? Not really, though they may look slightly silly. No; what abrades me is that they’re all stnuc. Dirty, dirty stnuc. They will:
- Try it on with your girlfriend. They care not for such social constraints as ‘relationship’ and ‘love’, and will look to harrass those they’re even slightly attracted to (which happens to be everything).
- Step in front of you at the bar. Even if you’ve been there for twenty minutes already, they’ll waltz up and lodge in the 1cm gap between you and your friend. And he will get served first, because he stands out more than you (because he’s orange).
- Push you off the dancefloor. Doesn’t matter if you’re minding your own business while getting down to some gangster rap, you’ll still suddenly find yourself jiving around the dancefloor, not on it. I guess the biggest dicks need the most space, after all.
- They will try to fight you. This is usually instigated by a cautionary signal from them, what I like to call the shoulder flash. If this happens, run – they’ll have bigger muscles than you. If not, they’ll have mates who do.
Hold one bloody second. I did say the patrons are the worst, but no: the bouncers take the cake, in truth. Step on someone else’s foot accidentally: they’ll beat you up out back. Bring a drink onto the dancefloor: beaten up out back. Breathe: beaten up out back, with extreme prejudice. Even though they’ll allow seventeen year-olds entry, because they think that maybe they’ll sleep with them.
But paying £7 on the door to get in, nothing would be worth what’s waiting inside for you.
I think we’ve all learnt something here. Learn something more with the follow-up to this article, Where (not) to go in Guildford: The Sequel.