Memories of the Maniqui as Falkirk nightclub Storm changes hands

One of Falkirk’s oldest dancing haunts is set to enter a new era as the brothers who have run it for decades have decided to pick up their coats from the cloakroom and head off.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 11:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 3:39 pm

David and Bill Johnston made an announcement on Storm’s Facebook page at the weekend stating they were retiring and the long established Meadow Street premises would be continuing under new management.

The new owner is local man Steven Dougall, manging director, of Horizon Reinforcing and Crane Ltd, based in Falkirk’s Dollar Industrial Estate.

The Johnstone brothers, who are both in their 70s, said Steven, being considerably younger, had some good ideas for the nightclub and would be renaming it the Maniqui when it re-opens.

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An era has ended for Storm nightclub as the Johnston brothers have retired and relinquished ownership of the long established premises

Steven said: “I used to go there every Friday when it was the Maniqui, I met my wife there and my mum and dad met each other there. That’s one of the reasons I bought it.”

David and Bill said they would be on hand to help Steven out with advice during the early stages.

In their online statement the Johnstons added: “This decision hasn’t been taken lightly as Storm, under it’s many names over the years, has been a family business from the beginning. However, the time has finally come for our long overdue retirement.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers past and present – many who have stuck by us through the good times and the bad, who have brought joy to our faces and some who have become friends, those who have been thrown out many a time, but still kept coming back.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of our staff. Bar staff, kitchen staff, cleaners, door stewards, DJs and cloakroom attendants, each and every one as important as the other, who have shown dedication and loyality over the years – thank you.

“We would like to wish the new management all the best and good luck in the new chapter in what is a landmark in Falkirk. We hope you have as much enjoyment and laughter as we have.

“It’s now time to finally put our feet up and stand on the other side of the bar on a Saturday night.”

Storm began life in 1933 under the ownership of David and Bill’s granddad as Doaks Dancing Academy and has, until this COVID-19 crisis anyway – been a constant feature of Falkirk night life for almost 90 years, changing from a ballroom to a restaurant and finally into its current form.

People will know it by a different name, depending on how old they are, and there are many fond memories of good times at Doaks, Oil Can Harrys, the Maniqui and, of course Storm.

One Grangemouth resident, who wanted to remain anonymous to preserve any dignity and coolness he is still able to cling to, recalled his time at the Maniqui in the mid 1990s.

He said: “I was out on the dancefloor with my pal and no women seemed to be interested in joining us. My pal thought it might be something to do with the fact I had my green cardigan tied around my waist as I was throwing down some awesome shapes.

“He pulled it off and threw it behind a fruit machine in a dark corner of the club. At the end of another fruitless night I went to collect my cardigan and found it was actually stuck to the floor of the carpet.

“I just left it and braved the weather in my t-shirt.”

This is but one tale from the rich history of this local instituition.

The Falkirk Herald would like to hear from people who have their own recollections of Storm/The Maniqui/Oli Can Harrys/Doaks.

Maybe that’s where you met the love of your life, or maybe you lost a caridgan of your own.

If you have any pictures of a night at the venue then you can send them to us as well.

E-mail [email protected] or post your recollections and pictures on the comments of the Facebook post.