When it was announced last spring that Liverpool’s indie clubbing institution Le Bateau had shut its doors for good, there was a huge outpouring of grief. Facebook, Twitter and our comments section was awash with people recalling their best, messiest, most beautiful and disgusting nights out at the Duke Street venue. Its closure left a huge hole in the city (Le Bateau’s size, shape and location – just outside Ropewalks’ boozy no-go zone – felt like an oasis. And not the Gallagher type). From Liquidation’s playlist of pop, indie and new wave to more specialist nights like Adult Books, it was a varied and vital city venue for generations of students, clued in music fans, and anyone else who fancied being welcomed in to its dimly-lit dancefloors.
Well, just as the dust was settling from its shock closure, it’s been reborn. Seriously. After a special return of Liquidation in December last year, the venue is re-opening for good this Friday, like a sticky-floored phoenix from the flames. We had a brief chat with Le Bateau’s Jools to find out more.
Le Bateau closed. And now it’s back. Say wha’?
We did five Liquidations in December, after the new owners agreed to let me show them the place in action. The response from music lovers across the city, and wider afield was brilliant. We had people flying in from all over for the first one so they didn’t miss out, people that me there years ago and are now married, and a load of new faces intrigued by what they’d heard. When the boat is rocking, it’s a very special place, and the owners saw that, so it’s back again.
Were you surprised at the response when the venue announced it was to close last year?
Not really. The longevity of the place means it’s touched a lot of different people and generations, all of whom may have different favourite eras, but all with Le Bateau in common.
In the back of your mind, were you always thinking – or hoping – it would be back?
For sure. In my mind, it’s the best dancefloor in the city.
Le Bateau’s outlived many other venues. Will the re-opened version be doing anything differently, or is it a case of picking up where you left off?
There’s a couple of newer promoters being given a shot at doing stuff, and the idea is to give some people chances on one of the floors some nights, mixing it up a little. But Fridays are Dance Yrself Clean (formerly Double Denim) and Saturdays Liquidation, same as it ever was.
Because it’s just enough off of the beaten track, it’s never attracted trouble, and a friendly door and happy barstaff add to the energy of the nights in there. There’s some great newer venues doing interesting stuff too, and it’s quite an exciting time to be a music fan in Liverpool again. I‘m made up Le Bateau and Liquidation are back to offer their own unique take on a night out.
Friday 22rd February – Dance Yrself Clean
Saturday 23rd February – Liquidation
Le Bateau, Duke Street, Liverpool