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Classic Kent nightclub pictures from the Noughties

From Amadeus to the Priz, wherever you were going out in Kent in the Noughties there was fun to be had.

And classic pictures from our archives show people certainly knew how to have a good time.

Pop Idol's Rik Waller gets a kiss from Ikon clubgoers in Maidstone in 2002. Picture: Ikon
Pop Idol's Rik Waller gets a kiss from Ikon clubgoers in Maidstone in 2002. Picture: Ikon

Going to a nightclub at the turn of the century also provided an excellent opportunity to meet a D-list celebrity.

Whether it was Pop Idol star Rik Waller or the one and only Chesney Hawkes, relatively famous faces loved popping by for a picture.

These were the days before the pouting poses and flattering filters of Instagram - when people truly knew how to let their hair down.

So, if you fancy a look back at buzzing dancefloors, packed bars and Danny Dyer on the decks, you're in the right place.

2001-2002: Fancy dress, Liquid launch and Darius Danesh

Think back to the early years of the new millennium.

New Labour were in power, the Queen was celebrating her Golden Jubilee - and it was school uniform night at Ikon in Maidstone.

Revellers at Ikon enjoying a VK - the classic Noughties clubbing drink
Revellers at Ikon enjoying a VK - the classic Noughties clubbing drink
Clubbers enjoy "Skools Out" at Ikon in 2002
Clubbers enjoy "Skools Out" at Ikon in 2002
People weren't afraid to let their hair down at Ikon in 2002
People weren't afraid to let their hair down at Ikon in 2002
Top class clubbing in 2002 at Ikon
Top class clubbing in 2002 at Ikon

Ikon opened at the end of 1998 and was best known for euphoric, uplifting trance on a Saturday night.

Within 10 years the club had been split in two, with Liquid offering dance tracks, and Envy providing chart tunes and a bit of indie.

Hollyoaks hunk Gary Lucy was among those having it large at Ikon in 2002 - along with Eastenders legend Dean Gaffney.

Friday night in Ikon with a big laser show and somewhat scary bear outfits in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Friday night in Ikon with a big laser show and somewhat scary bear outfits in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Ikon absolutely buzzing in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Ikon absolutely buzzing in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Gary Lucy, otherwise known as Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, with fans at Ikon in 2002. Picture: Karl Hernandez
Gary Lucy, otherwise known as Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, with fans at Ikon in 2002. Picture: Karl Hernandez
Eastenders actor Dean Gaffney on the d-floor at Ikon in 2002. Picture: Karl Hernandez
Eastenders actor Dean Gaffney on the d-floor at Ikon in 2002. Picture: Karl Hernandez

Meanwhile, elsewhere in town, there was a hell of a party going on at Strawberry Moons.

Many an epic night was had at the Gabriels Hill nightspot , which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002.

And thanks to our Face in the Crowd competition, where party animals would send in their clubbing photos for the chance to win a £10 drinks voucher, we have tonnes of pictures in our archives to help remember the good times.

Party time at Strawberry Moons in December 2001, long before the days of social distancing
Party time at Strawberry Moons in December 2001, long before the days of social distancing
Staff got involved in the fun in 2001 at Strawberry Moons
Staff got involved in the fun in 2001 at Strawberry Moons
Having a hula of a good time at Strawberry Moons in 2002
Having a hula of a good time at Strawberry Moons in 2002
Good times at Strawberry Moons in 2002
Good times at Strawberry Moons in 2002
Strawberry Moons celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002
Strawberry Moons celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002
Strawberry Moons was heaving for its 10-year anniversary party in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Strawberry Moons was heaving for its 10-year anniversary party in 2002. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Strawberry Moons in 2002 - a legendary club. We'll drink to that. Picture: Ade Rowswell
Strawberry Moons in 2002 - a legendary club. We'll drink to that. Picture: Ade Rowswell

Strawberry Moons closed in 2017 after 25 unforgettable years of revelry in Maidstone.

Another celebrity spending a night out in Kent in 2002 was Craig Fairbrass.

The actor, who played Dirty Dan Sullivan in Eastenders and also starred in Sylvester Stallone action film Cliffhanger, was pictured at the King Charles Hotel nightclub in Gillingham.

Eastenders actor Craig Fairbrass was a bit late for his appearance at the King Charles Hotel nightclub in Gillingham in 2002
Eastenders actor Craig Fairbrass was a bit late for his appearance at the King Charles Hotel nightclub in Gillingham in 2002

He was there to launch a new singles night called Cupids - but arrived five hours late.

The legendary venue, also known as Excalibur Nightclub over the years, was sadly demolished in 2019.

There was also fun to be had in Chez Moi in Tunbridge Wells, The Deck in Deal and Deja Vu in Swanley - more classic clubs that are no longer with us.

Gordon Zola (Rob Hunt), Wesley Dale (Tim Crouch) and Cheddar George (Jon Green) at Chez Moi in Tunbridge Wells in 2002
Gordon Zola (Rob Hunt), Wesley Dale (Tim Crouch) and Cheddar George (Jon Green) at Chez Moi in Tunbridge Wells in 2002
Revellers in The Deck nightclub in Deal in 2002
Revellers in The Deck nightclub in Deal in 2002
Staff at Swanley's Deja Vu Nightclub preparing for the 2002 Christmas party season. Picture: Deja Vu
Staff at Swanley's Deja Vu Nightclub preparing for the 2002 Christmas party season. Picture: Deja Vu

Meanwhile, clubbers were celebrating 80s night at Jumpin Jaks in Maidstone.

Known for cheesy music, fancy dress, colourful alcohol and dancing bar staff, it was once THE place to end a night out.

And Pop Idol star Darius Danesh - fresh off chart-topping success with single Colourblind - was among the revellers in 2002.

Party time at Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone, during 80s night at Jumpin Jaks in 2002
Party time at Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone, during 80s night at Jumpin Jaks in 2002
Back in 2002, Sheerness Times Guardian reporters Hayley Robinson and Helen Cockersole met Darius Danesh in Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone
Back in 2002, Sheerness Times Guardian reporters Hayley Robinson and Helen Cockersole met Darius Danesh in Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone

The building is now home to Hollywood Bowl.

Over on the Isle of Sheppey, clubbers were having a good night at Club Space, part of Merlins Bar.

One Nation night in August 2002 at Club Space, part of Merlins Bar in Leysdown. Picture: Paul Mulley
One Nation night in August 2002 at Club Space, part of Merlins Bar in Leysdown. Picture: Paul Mulley

Not everyone was happy though. A petition signed by 47 people living near the Leysdown venue in 2002 objected to its licence being renewed.

It was Sheppey's largest entertainment complex, with stars like Doctor Hook, Jim Davidson, Jimmy Jones, Bobby Davro and Chas ‘n’ Dave appearing over the decades. But the legendary venue closed last year .

2002 also saw the launch of Liquid nightclub at the former flour mill in East Hill, Ashford.

Bar staff wait for their first customers on Liquid's opening night in November 2002. Picture: Dave Downey
Bar staff wait for their first customers on Liquid's opening night in November 2002. Picture: Dave Downey
The first night saw snake charmers in Liquid. Picture: Dave Downey
The first night saw snake charmers in Liquid. Picture: Dave Downey
Liquid in Ashford was a hit with revellers. Picture Dave Downey
Liquid in Ashford was a hit with revellers. Picture Dave Downey

Open five nights a week, it featured DJs, podium dancers, stilt walkers and fire eaters , alongside laser and lighting effects.

Liquid shut in 2014, as bosses decided to transfer the club to The Old Warehouse in Station Approach, and rebranded it Cameo.

Just outside the town, clubbers were also having a good time at M20 in Eureka Park.

Named after the busy motorway which runs past it, the venue hosted performances from the likes of DJ EZ and Ms. Dynamite.

Revellers at M20 nightclub in Ashford in 2002. Picture: Paul Mulley
Revellers at M20 nightclub in Ashford in 2002. Picture: Paul Mulley
Remember Beppe Di Marco from Eastenders? Actor Michael Greco was at M20 in 2002. Picture: Paul Mulley
Remember Beppe Di Marco from Eastenders? Actor Michael Greco was at M20 in 2002. Picture: Paul Mulley

In 2002 it welcomed Michael Greco, who played Beppe Di Marco in Eastenders.

2003-2004: Chesney Hawkes, Cheeky Girls and a world-record YMCA attempt

Riding the wave of growing interest in so-called WAGs like Victoria Beckham, Footballers' Wives was an iconic TV series of the Noughties.

And one of the show's stars, Cristian Solimeno, paid a visit to Deja Vu in Swanley in 2003.

Footballers Wives' star Cristian Solimeno entertained clubbers at Deja Vu. Picture: CJP Publications Milton Keynes
Footballers Wives' star Cristian Solimeno entertained clubbers at Deja Vu. Picture: CJP Publications Milton Keynes
KMFM's Dibbzy and The Bill star Chris Simmons at The Bizz in Canterbury in 2003. Picture: The Bizz nightclub / Jon Mills
KMFM's Dibbzy and The Bill star Chris Simmons at The Bizz in Canterbury in 2003. Picture: The Bizz nightclub / Jon Mills

Meanwhile, Chris Simmons, who played Mickey Webb in The Bill, was enjoying himself at The Bizz in Canterbury.

The nightspot has changed names several times over a number of years. Also known as The Works and Baa Bars, it is now home to Club Chemistry.

Over in Thanet, people were enjoying a night out at Frank's.

At the bar at Frank's in Margate in 2003. Picture: Derek Stingemore
At the bar at Frank's in Margate in 2003. Picture: Derek Stingemore
Frank Thorley (right) with son Phil (left) and club manager Gareth Brett at Frank's in 2003. Picture: Derek Stingemore
Frank Thorley (right) with son Phil (left) and club manager Gareth Brett at Frank's in 2003. Picture: Derek Stingemore

The Margate location's ground floor is now home to Rendezvous restaurant, while the top floor is the Faith in Strangers events space.

At Jumpin Jaks, a big crowd turned out to see Will Mellor - who played Gaz alongside Sheridan Smith in classic Noughties comedy Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Danny Dyer, at this time most famous for starring in Human Traffic and as Billy the Limpet in Mean Machine, was there too!

Clubbers meet Will Mellor and Danny Dyer at Jumpin Jaks in 2003
Clubbers meet Will Mellor and Danny Dyer at Jumpin Jaks in 2003
Crowds to see Will Mellor at Jumpin Jaks in 2003
Crowds to see Will Mellor at Jumpin Jaks in 2003

And, as ever, clubbers were enjoying themselves at Ikon too - including Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood.

Good times at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Good times at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Clubbing together at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Clubbing together at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
All smiles at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
All smiles at Ikon in 2003. Picture: Andrew Wardley
Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood at Ikon in 2004. Picture: Emma Harper / Luminar Leisure
Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood at Ikon in 2004. Picture: Emma Harper / Luminar Leisure

In February 2004, Jumpin Jaks was buzzing once again as Chesney Hawkes took to the stage.

Later that year more than 800 clubbers at the Maidstone nightspot joined in a world record attempt for the highest number of people simultaneously dancing to YMCA.

Crowd watching Chesney Hawkes at Jumpin' Jaks in 2004
Crowd watching Chesney Hawkes at Jumpin' Jaks in 2004
The man himself on stage at Jumpin' Jaks
The man himself on stage at Jumpin' Jaks
More than 800 Maidstone clubbers join in the Jumpin' Jaks world record attempt for the most people dancing to YMCA simultaneously in 2004
More than 800 Maidstone clubbers join in the Jumpin' Jaks world record attempt for the most people dancing to YMCA simultaneously in 2004

Elsewhere in the town in 2004, the Cheeky Girls arrived at Strawberry Moons to record the video for their new Christmas single Boys and Girls (Christmas Love Time).

The Romanian singing duo found fame after appearing in Popstars: The Rivals, where they dumbfounded the judges with their performance of the Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum).

Meanwhile, the club's regular punters were having a cheeky time too!

The Cheeky Girls film their Christmas single, Girl and Boys, at Maidstone's Strawberry Moons nightclub with former Hollyoaks star Andy Newton-Lee in 2004. Picture: Shaun Gray
The Cheeky Girls film their Christmas single, Girl and Boys, at Maidstone's Strawberry Moons nightclub with former Hollyoaks star Andy Newton-Lee in 2004. Picture: Shaun Gray
Pitchers and pints at Strawberry Moons in 2003. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons
Pitchers and pints at Strawberry Moons in 2003. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons
Group photo at the Maidstone club. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons
Group photo at the Maidstone club. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons
Feeling merry and bright at Moons. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons
Feeling merry and bright at Moons. Picture: Ade Rowswell / Strawberry Moons

Clubbers were also enjoying nights out at Tantra in Sheerness.

The seafront club opened in 2002 and was still going strong up until lockdown was enforced in March this year.

Clubbers at Tantra in Sheerness in 2004. Picture: Thomas Holland
Clubbers at Tantra in Sheerness in 2004. Picture: Thomas Holland
A top night at Tantra in 2004
A top night at Tantra in 2004
Beer o'clock at Tantra in January 2004. Picture Thomas Holland
Beer o'clock at Tantra in January 2004. Picture Thomas Holland

Let's hope the good times return very soon.

2005-2009: From Chico to indie rock

As we entered the second half of the decade, Tony Blair was still in power - getting re-elected in 2005.

More than 10 millon people were tuning in to watch Little Britain. And Peter Kay was top of the charts with Is This The Way To Amarillo.

A popular reality TV show at the time was Hell's Kitchen - where contestants had to impress celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Jean Christophe Novelli in order to earn the chance of running their own restaurant.

One of the hopefuls was Kellie Cresswell from Strood, who enjoyed a night out at Ikon after finishing runner-up in the show in 2005.

Hell's Kitchen star Kellie Cresswell went clubbing in Ikon in 2005. Picture: Karl Hernandez / Ikon
Hell's Kitchen star Kellie Cresswell went clubbing in Ikon in 2005. Picture: Karl Hernandez / Ikon
School disco night at Escape in Margate in 2005
School disco night at Escape in Margate in 2005

It was school disco night on Margate seafront at Escape - which is now home to the Barletta restaurant.

At Rivals in Deal the d-floor was packed with revellers. The nightclub later became known as Ocean Rooms.

And down the road at Funky Monkey in Dover, it was Halloween night. The club is still going today (coronavirus restrictions aside).

A night out at Rivals in Deal. Picture: Paul Shepherd
A night out at Rivals in Deal. Picture: Paul Shepherd
Punters in Halloween fancy dress at the Funky Monkey in Dover in October 2006. Picture: Nathan Sutton
Punters in Halloween fancy dress at the Funky Monkey in Dover in October 2006. Picture: Nathan Sutton
A night out at Tantra in Sheerness in 2006
A night out at Tantra in Sheerness in 2006
Chico fans waiting for the star at Jumpin Jaks in 2006
Chico fans waiting for the star at Jumpin Jaks in 2006
And here is! Pop star Chico performing at Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone, in 2006
And here is! Pop star Chico performing at Jumpin Jaks, Maidstone, in 2006

In 2008, the Chicago Rock Cafe in Canterbury became Chill nightclub.

DJ Ironik, who has had top 10 hits with Stay With Me and Tiny Dancer, performed there that year.

DJ Ironik at Chill nightclub in Canterbury in 2008. Picture: John Tierney
DJ Ironik at Chill nightclub in Canterbury in 2008. Picture: John Tierney

It is now home to Tokyo Tea Rooms nightclub.

2009 saw indie rockers The View - who famously sang about having the same jeans on for four days - perform at The Loft nightclub in Maidstone .

The View play at The Loft nightclub in Maidstone in 2009. Picture: Al Harley
The View play at The Loft nightclub in Maidstone in 2009. Picture: Al Harley

The popular venue, where DJ's Pete Tong and Zane Lowe also took the decks, closed in 2015.

2010 onwards: Celebs galore at dawn of new decade

Ok, ok. So here we are in fact creeping out of the Noughties and into the Twenty-Tens. But we didn't want you to miss out on some more corking pictures.

The dawn of the decade saw David Cameron step into Number 10 and The Great British Bake Off hit our TV screens.

Meanwhile, in Herne Bay, revellers partied into 2010 at Talk nightclub.

Bringing in the New Year at Talk nightclub in Herne Bay
Bringing in the New Year at Talk nightclub in Herne Bay
Celebrating the arrival of a new decade at Talk. Picture: Selena Lobb
Celebrating the arrival of a new decade at Talk. Picture: Selena Lobb
Clubbers at New York, New York in Herne Bay. Picture: Darren Bloom
Clubbers at New York, New York in Herne Bay. Picture: Darren Bloom

The venue briefly rebranded as New York, New York, which will put a wry smile on the faces of fans of The Office.

("They call it the nightclub that never sleeps. That closes at one...")

2010 also saw the arrival of Hustle at The Old Warehouse (now home to Cameo) in Ashford - with a wealth of celebrities coming along to help promote the new venue.

Matthew Horne, better known as Gavin off of Gavin & Stacey, was guest DJ for the night.

The club also welcomed TOWIE's Joey Essex and Kirk Norcross, Katie Price's ex Alex Reid, Lee from Blue, actor Ralf Little, reality star Jodie Marsh and former So Solid Crew member Lisa Maffia.

Gavin & Stacey actor Matthew Horne behind the decks in Hustle nightclub in 2010: Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Gavin & Stacey actor Matthew Horne behind the decks in Hustle nightclub in 2010: Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Lisa Maffia at Hustle in 2010. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Lisa Maffia at Hustle in 2010. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Glamour model turned tattoo artist Jodie Marsh at Hustle in 2010. Photo: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Glamour model turned tattoo artist Jodie Marsh at Hustle in 2010. Photo: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Charlie Couchman with Joey Essex at Hustle. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Charlie Couchman with Joey Essex at Hustle. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Clubbers celebrate Hustle's first anniversary in January 2011. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Clubbers celebrate Hustle's first anniversary in January 2011. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Actor Ralf Little (left) at Hustle in 2011. Picture: Hustle nightclub
Actor Ralf Little (left) at Hustle in 2011. Picture: Hustle nightclub
Lee Ryan from Blue with guests at Hustle nightclub in 2011. Picture: Matt Simes / Hustle nightclub
Lee Ryan from Blue with guests at Hustle nightclub in 2011. Picture: Matt Simes / Hustle nightclub
Danny Dyer at Hustle in 2011. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Danny Dyer at Hustle in 2011. Picture: Jay Sinclair of Loudpix
Danny Dyer on the decks at Hustle in Ashford in 2011. Picture: Hustle nightclub
Danny Dyer on the decks at Hustle in Ashford in 2011. Picture: Hustle nightclub

In 2011, Danny Dyer got behind the decks.

But the club closed after just three years in the town.

Across the county in Chatham, TOWIE stars were making an appearance at Krystals nightclub.

Owner Sanjay Raval with Arg & Lydia from ITV s The Only Way is Essex at Krystals Nightclub and Vanity Bar, Chatham. Picture: Vizualography Media - Instagram @viz_rod
Owner Sanjay Raval with Arg & Lydia from ITV s The Only Way is Essex at Krystals Nightclub and Vanity Bar, Chatham. Picture: Vizualography Media - Instagram @viz_rod
Clubbers at Krystals Nightclub and Vanity Bar in 2011. Picture: Vizualography Media - Instagram @viz_rod
Clubbers at Krystals Nightclub and Vanity Bar in 2011. Picture: Vizualography Media - Instagram @viz_rod

The venue sadly closed in 2013.

In 2012, Aaron Stone was celebrating 20 years in charge of Casino Rooms in Rochester.

And that man Joey Essex popped up in Kent once again to help clubbers mark the occasion.

Joey Essex at Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
Joey Essex at Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Aaron Stone (dressed as a cowboy) taking over Casino Rooms. Picture: Aaron Stone
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Aaron Stone (dressed as a cowboy) taking over Casino Rooms. Picture: Aaron Stone
Halloween party at Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
Halloween party at Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
There was a big party a Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
There was a big party a Casino Rooms in 2012. Picture: Aaron Stone
Here he is again! Joey Essex - this time at Tantra in Sheerness - in 2012. Picture: Andy Bradley
Here he is again! Joey Essex - this time at Tantra in Sheerness - in 2012. Picture: Andy Bradley
Made in Chelsea star Hugo Taylor meets fans at Strawberry Moons nightclub in Maidstone in 2012. Picture: Rik Johnson
Made in Chelsea star Hugo Taylor meets fans at Strawberry Moons nightclub in Maidstone in 2012. Picture: Rik Johnson

Finally, in 2013, revellers rubbed shoulders with hip-hop royalty when superstar producer Timbaland made an appearance at Gallery nightclub in Maidstone.

The artist, who has worked with names such as Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott, chose the nightspot to host his official concert after-party, following an appearance at the 02.

Timbaland at Gallery in Maidstone in 2013. Picture: Priscilla Hilden
Timbaland at Gallery in Maidstone in 2013. Picture: Priscilla Hilden

The early years of the decade also saw the astronomic rise of the smartphone and Instagram - and the demise of the digital camera.

As we got closer to 2020, people were still taking pictures in clubs, but it just wasn't the same.

Rather than grabbing a mate, raising a pint and shouting something lairy at the camera, we started taking selfies instead...

Sadly, many of our favourite nightspots have closed over the same period - with the legendary Priz in Folkestone dramatically going up in flames.

Will we ever let our hair down quite like this again? Picture: Strawberry Moons, 2001
Will we ever let our hair down quite like this again? Picture: Strawberry Moons, 2001

Will we ever see rowdy nights like we had in the Noughties ever again? Were we more carefree back then?

Let's hope that when Kent's nightclubs are finally able to reopen - they come back with a bang.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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