Reopening of refurbished Falkirk nightclub will bring town 'back to life', says new owner

The new owner of a Falkirk nightclub believes the venue’s long-awaited reopening will help bring the town “back to life”.

By Jonathon Reilly
Friday, 6th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 10:35 am

Steven Dougall took over the reins at Storm last year and immediately reinstated the venue’s previous name: the Maniqui.

The further easing of Covid restrictions means the Meadow Street premises, once known as Doak’s and Oil Can Harry’s, is preparing to welcome back clubbers on Friday, August 13 – the first time it’ll have done so since March 2020.

In a nod to bygone days, the Maniqui confirmed its return on Facebook, posting: “The Storm has passed, the Maniqui is back!”

Steven Dougall, the new owner and director of the Maniqui in Falkirk, is being assisted by daughter Frankee and son Stewart. Picture: Michael Gillen.

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    Now the public can return to dance floors without the need for social distancing, Falkirk-born businessman Steven is confident of filling the revamped 990-person-capacity club on a regular basis.

    He said: “We’re desperate to open.

    “We refurbished it and repainted. Our big moment has come!

    “We’re hoping to get the venue back to its old days – it was nearly full every weekend. I don’t think people can wait to get back out and enjoy themselves.

    “We’re going to be opening at 8pm and the three venues will be open inside. They’re three different places for music: Images is for music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s; the Main Hall with dance music; and then the Horizon Lounge with arty music.

    “We’ve applied to the licensing board to open Horizon Lounge on Saturdays and Sundays and bank holidays at lunchtime to do snacks, with TVs showing the horse racing and sport scores.

    “The licensing now is 8pm-3am Friday and Saturday and 8pm-1am the rest of the week.

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    “We’ll put different things on like live bands on Saturday nights. They’ll be on from 8-10pm, then the nightclub will open.”

    The first act to grace the stage of the newly refurbished venue will be VH5 on Saturday, August 14.

    Gig-goers are sure to notice a new look inside, says Steven, who’s worked hard alongside son Stewart and daughter Frankee, his fellow directors, to install new lighting and stools, among other features.

    Steven said: “We’ve got Primes booked to come in October and we’re looking to do a lot of tribute acts; a lot of cabaret-type things to bring Falkirk back to life.

    “We’ve painted everywhere inside the building and freshened it all up. We’ve got the snack area back up, selling burgers, hot dogs and chips.

    “Going by the feedback on Facebook, we think we’re going to have a busy opening weekend. It’s just making sure we can keep it full going forward.

    “Come and join us for a fun night – it’s the place to be!”

    The Scottish Government has confirmed club-goers will have to wear face coverings inside such premises, although some exceptions will apply.

    A spokesman said: “As we move toward greater normality, we must remember the virus has not disappeared and we all have a responsibility to take sensible precautions to help protect ourselves and each other.

    “Masks must be worn in hospitality venues, including pubs and nightclubs, except for specific circumstances such as whilst eating, drinking and dancing.

    “Clinical and public health advice is clear that face coverings continue to be an effective way of stopping transmission.”

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