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Inside the amazing transformation at Gulliver’s as ‘black hole’ becomes trendy new cocktail bar

The black hole that was Grimsby's Gulliver’s nightclub has been transformed into a plush new lounge bar.

Inside the amazing transformation at Gulliver’s as ‘black hole’ becomes trendy new cocktail bar

But there is still a dance floor for the next generation to bop till they drop.

Owner Derrick Howard will unveil the new look to the venue at a VIP night on Thursday, before the official opening on Friday.

He has completed Phase Two of the upgrade to Gulliver’s which became the place most young people visited at least one night every week.

Derrick joked he had donated the old carpet to a museum after it had become part of the “dark and gloomy” atmosphere which formerly included "a Goth’s corner."

It was started in 1982 by the late Peter Davidson and was a final destination after a crawl round several town centre bars, including The Barge, which Derrick also owns.

Now Derrick has invested £600,000 in the new venue which will eventually employ up to 40 members of staff once the Phase Three is completed.

He said: “I want to drop the club brand. It will be staying as Gulliver’s meanwhile but we are getting away from the whole nightclub image.”

It will be open from 7pm to 3am from Tuesday to Saturday.

When he first bought it in December the respected licensee, who has owned The Barge for 25 years, initially thought a redecoration project would fit the bill.

But he closed Gulliver’s for a month to completely transform it and install modern facilities.

“Gulliver’s has always been linked with the Barge. But it was lacking in modern facilities. It just wasn’t fit for purpose. It was a black hole,” he said.

He added: “It has been a labour of love. It has been hard work.

“It started as a decoration job but then we came up with the vision of a bar, function room and lounge bar.”

The staircase to Gulliver’s has been widened and there are locally-made stainless steel banister rails.

The dancefloor has had a makeover and the mirrored wall replaced with a more calming image of a gentle wooded area which covers the whole of it.

There is no charge for admission to the new look venue.

There is a vast increase in the seating area with tasteful covers and tables.

Each has charging points for people to power up their tablets or phones.

Derrick said: “It is more friendly to the modern era. It is a safe environment as we have never had any trouble since taking it over.”

He will be offering cocktails with two-for-one deals at certain times.

The exterior will soon reflect the marine teal-coloured interior, with tartan-covered seating.

Derrick is especially proud of the new Ultrasonics bespoke sound system.

DJ Jason Munro said he was delighted with the transformation and the chance to play music at Gulliver’s as he has done for a decade.

He said rock and indy music will figure more prominently.

He was wide-eyed at the stock of vinyl records and CDs he discovered in an upstairs store room.

The collection of hundreds of records and CDs have been removed from the venue.

But, as well as his brand new state-of-the art sound and lighting system, he will have his laptop on stage with which to play his brand of sound mixes.

“I have been working here for 10 years. I could see someone walking through the door and know their style of music and get it mixed in to get them bouncing nice and early.”

He added: “We get a lot of people who have been influenced by their parents listening to The Smiths and The Cure. We play those. And we could play everything from The B52s, punk and Northern Soul. Now we can play old hip hop and mix it into anything like Def Leppard or Enter Shikari.

Gulliver’s has a capacity of 220 thanks to the redesign.

The toilets are completely re-tiled and refitted with modern appliances.

Gulliver’s supervisor, Kate Collins said: “We tried to do something as it was. But it wanted something to make it a bigger change. We will be able to look after people better in the future. It is loads better. It is 100 per cent better. the fabrics make it feel warm and cosy.”

She added: “We are trying to be different from everyone else and cater for everybody. There is a big drink change on the menu with plenty of gin, cocktails and something for everybody.”

“I used to come in and after a few drinks you didn’t mind the dark and gloom. But seeing it in daylight was awful. There were nicotine-stained ceilings, everything was coated in nicotine. It was painted black so no one had bothered to clean it.”

Thanks to local suppliers the walls are lined with sand-blasted wood to give character to the lounge and the bar is a marine teal made to look like a giant chest of drawers.

The venue is totally air-conditioned.

Derrick said: “We hope everyone will come and visit us. It will be a place for people who are smart and casual. You are not going to get in with just jogging bottoms. We are going to have nice people.”

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