We visited the club for the first time this New Year’s eve. In writing this review I will do my best to stick to the facts, having worked in a similar type of venue for a number of years I understand both sides of the fence. On the whole I will say we had a reasonable night.
Venue: The venue itself is a good size and laid out well with easy access from bus rail or car. Sadly I have to say the venue could have been a lot cleaner. I may be a little pedantic but New Year is the flagship night of any venue and should be in its best condition. From the balcony seating upstairs the dust on the beams and stage side speakers was as if it had been snowing for while. On black décor, any dust will show up under the lighting. Cobwebs hanging from the ceiling just added to the bad first impressions. A pre event walk around by a manager should have easily picked this up. Sounds odd to go on about the dust but upon taking our seats this was the first impression we got of the place and first impressions say so much. The bar upstairs is more than adequate for size but again could have been a lot cleaner and 2 of the 3 mirrors on the back wall were broken. Seated upstairs for the comedy show, I have to say the seating, which is cinema style seating is very cramped for knee room. If you are tall make sure you get there early to secure front row seats where the best leg room is afforded.
Food & Drink:
The buffet food was OK. No complaints about the food served but being a new year I would have thought the selection would have been a little wider. The buffet was laid out in a side room which was excellent however a little foresight would have seen the tables not laid right up to the end wall which would have allowed a straight forward flow around the table. I would have also thought there would be a member of the catering team there to assist in serving and keeping the table flowing. Glasses were not always clean and I saw numerous times during the evening people handing glasses back for being dirty. Given the bars are closed while the acts are on stage there is plenty of down time to wash glasses and restock with ice, lemons and bottles. Small details that could be so easily fixed giving the customer a much better experience.
I am afraid that the staff fell into one of two camps, either very very good or very very bad. There was a problem at the start of the evening with groupon ticket bookings turning up not having confirmed the booking which led to people being turned away. This caused a delay in starting but to be fair the door security team were faultless in doing their best to get the confirmed bookings in and sat down to allow the show to start. All credit to the team that were on. The cloakroom attendant was very efficient and wore a lovely smile, 1 of the few members of staff who did! Bar staff again were either very good or very bad, Customer service not high on their list of skills. That said one lady serving in the bar in the smaller room downstairs I would single out for praise, smiled, pleasant and over all very efficieant. Queuing times at the bar were ridiculously high. Prices of drinks were about what I expected for the type of venue and its location so no complaints there. The bars are closed while the acts are on so when an act finishes everyone gets up to the bar at once. For the type of venue I understand the need for the bars to be closed while the acts are on stage but a better system needs to be put in place, maybe a pre ordering/paying system so the drinks are on the bar awaiting collection with your NCR ticket. Yes it was a very busy night being New Year but this club according to the staff sells out quite regular so the numbers of customers was not something new to them. A few more staff would have eased the load and given both the staff and customers a better experience. A staff uniform or at least matching tops or badges or something would have given a much more professional appearance, sadly some of the staff looked quite scruffy.
There were 3 comedians on the bill along with a live 8 piece band all introduced by the compere. I will not comment on the quality of the acts as this is all subjective. Live comedy is always more raw than what you see on TV so there will always be more colourful language. All the acts got good applause so I would say they were well received in the main.
To Sum up:
With the size of the venue, the excellent location and parking this venue has all the ingredients needed to make this one of the premier venues not only in Chester but in the North of England. From what I saw it lacked a strong team leader on the night to pull all the elements together. This venue has now been open over a year and I feel a lot of these problems should have been ironed out by now. I don’t usually bother to write reviews for nights out but felt I had to on this one. As I said at the start I have tried to stick to the facts and give an honest appraisal.
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