The Regal Social Club
King of clubs
Sandra Marron talks to Mark Robb as he launches his new club experience, The Regal Social Club, on the Glasgow scene
If you are tired of all the identikit nightclubs operating in our fair cities, the overly flashy lights, the burly surly doormen, the cattle mart ethos and standard music policy that operates throughout, then you probably think you are too old to be out clubbing. That or the club scene as you know it holds nothing of any interest for you anymore. But what if there was a place you could go to for cheap booze and to hear the music you like, albeit a little more specialised; a place you could chat to your pals til 3am in another room without music if you so desired; a place where some candles and a glitter ball were the preferred decoration.
Enter Mark Robb (of the original Buff Club) and his new venture The Regal Social Club, a new basement space in the Merchant City next door to the Red Lizard on Bell Street. A simple sign and a wooden-clad hallway will alert you to this little gem as you pass by. Within you will find a two roomed bunker - a Twin Peaks style ether meets working man’s club complete with red curtains on the walls, school furniture, Formica and a floor that was conceived for Northern Soul.
Mark Robb knew what he wanted when he earmarked the place ten years ago as a club space. ‘Growing up in the Thatcher years in Clydebank, I’ve been at the tail end of social clubs. The first pint I ever had was in the Buyermakers Social Club in Clydebank and I’ve always been obsessed by the aesthetic and the notion of a social club. I suppose it’s a nostalgia trip for me too, and I’m obsessed by jazz music, soul music and historical jazz.’
Robb is a well known fixture on the Glasgow music scene. His Friday night Buff Club in the West End is still the stuff of legend and this new venture takes all the successful elements of his past projects and adds just a few improvements without losing any of the charm. Robb knows exactly what he wants. ‘I want a contemporary social club. I want a social club for the arts, a social club for any age group. Really I want a space for jazz, soul and funk. It’s definitely club hours but with pub prices. A cheap door price and a cheap bar for me, to the best of my abilities, is really important and I think that creates a lot of loyalty. I’m here to sell music essentially, I’m not here to sell bevvie, the by-product of selling bevvie is that I pay my rates,’ he says.
Robb is also excited about the rota of DJs and live bands he will be hosting. ‘Another great thing about this venue is that I have all the guys I’ve always worked with - like big Kevin Stevens, Nick Peacock, Craig, Andrew Divine who will be doing a Friday night, we’ve got Simon Hodge who used to do The Funk Room through from Edinburgh and Afterglow, The Friday Street guys - so it’s all the guys and girls I’ve ever wanted to work with under the one roof - they are the cream of the crop.’ He beams before adding, ‘for me essentially what the club is about is the people. It really is. It’s about the people who will frequent here, it’s about the people who come and dance that you can vibe off to.’
The Regal Social Club is open Wed-Sun, see listings and check www.theregalsocialclub.com for full details.