A NEW club will open its doors in Southampton city centre tonight aimed at reviving the city’s gay nightlife.
Business partners Duane Southall and Paul Wells will open the doors of Cloud Nine in St Mary’s Road at the place where the former student nightclub Kaos used to stand.
Paul, who runs a Southampton-based security firm, said he hopes the new venue will boost the city’s gay scene, creating 20 full and part-time jobs.
Duane will be manager at the new venue while Paul is financing it and he already has plans to open another bar in the city if this venture is successful.
He said: “Southampton has been crying out for another gay night club for years.
“We’re right in front of the Royal South Hants Hospital and opposite where the British Gas building stood. Hopefully this will put Southampton back on the country’s gay network.
“I’m already looking for another venue for a gay bar in the city. Duane approach-ed me about opening up a new gay venue and we thought it would be very worthwhile. The pink pound is quite powerful so it should be successful.”
Cloud Nine has taken over the space where student bar Kaos used to stand.
In 2009 bouncer Andrew Lee seriously injured Southampton Solent University student John Jones outside the club, breaking his neck and leaving him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and needing round-the-clock care.
The club closed down in 2012 after the management decided to sell up and Duane approached Paul to pump £100,000 into the new venue which has a 340-person capacity and will be open from 8pm to 4am.
But for Duane, who formerly ran the Drummond Arms in Portswood, it is the culmination of a life-long dream to run a nightclub in town.
He said: “It’s something I have been passionate about doing for a number of years now. Paul and I came together to get this place up and running.
“We’re aiming for a more diverse crowd. Throughout the week there will be a bit of everything – different nights, different DJs and different events.”