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Club Chemistry in Canterbury to reopen as bar with social distancing measures in place

One of Kent's most popular nightclubs is reopening tomorrow - but this time as a bar.

Following months of closure, Canterbury's Club Chemistry is set to open its doors to revellers once again, but with major changes including no dancing and table service only.

Club Chemistry in Canterbury. Picture: Instant Street View
Club Chemistry in Canterbury. Picture: Instant Street View

The venue usually features music, dance floors and bars spread across several floors.

But when it reopens tomorrow night following the Covid-19 lockdown, things will look very different.

Owner Louise Jones-Roberts says she is confident the business will be able to comply with social distancing rules, while offering customers a "good time".

"Nightclubs as we know them are not going to be opening for a very, very long time," she said. "And we have either got to adapt, or we're not going to survive.

"So we're putting our best foot forward, and are going to open as a bar. We will not be trading as a nightclub, as that's still quite clearly illegal."

Louise Jones-Roberts at Club Chemistry in Station Road East, Canterbury
Louise Jones-Roberts at Club Chemistry in Station Road East, Canterbury

She says the main change is that there will be no dancing, while drinks will no longer be served at the bar.

"People will be seated and everybody's going to be served at their table," she said.

Other new measures include track and trace upon entry, one-way systems, and regular sanitisation.

Music will also be played at a lower-than-usual level, in an effort to reduce the need for guests to raise their voices while speaking to one another.

Mrs Jones-Roberts says Club Chemistry will only be able to cater for about 7% of its usual capacity.

Table service will be operating throughout the venue. Picture: Louise Jones-Roberts
Table service will be operating throughout the venue. Picture: Louise Jones-Roberts

Tokyo Tea Rooms - a bar in St George's Place also owned by Mrs Jones-Roberts - reopened about four weeks ago, and she has been heartened by the success of its relaunch.

"It's been great at Tokyo. Table service has worked really, really well there," she said.

"I don't know how our Chemistry customers will react. I don't know if this is going to work for people who would normally go to Chem, or if we're going to get different people coming. It's a toe in the water.

"Kent Police have been absolutely phenomenal in terms of their support. They've visited and given really constructive advice. So we're actually very confident that we can remain absolutely compliant, and provide a good time for our customers."

A one-way system will be in place. Picture: Louise Jones-Roberts
A one-way system will be in place. Picture: Louise Jones-Roberts

The venue's relaunch event - named the Chem Journey Back to Normality - is running from 9pm tomorrow (Saturday) until 3am on Sunday.

Club Chemistry is set to hold another event next Saturday, with details yet to be announced.

For more information, and to book, visit the event's Facebook page.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury


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