7 Cambridgeshire nightclubs the county has lost over the years

Image of the old Palace Ballroom in Chatteris, prior to it's conversion into a Turkish restaurant.

Locations which were once bustling with life and partying students have now either been converted or sadly abandoned, waiting for a new lease of life. - Credit: The Stacey Family / Chatteris Community Archive

We all have that one place that we remember more than all the rest from our youth. 

The days we spent partying gave us fond memories of individual bars and clubs which, unfortunately, don’t last forever. 

Locations which were once bustling with life and partying students have now either been converted or sadly abandoned, waiting for a new lease of life.

Here’s our list of five Cambridgeshire venues that the county has lost over the years: 

1. Fifth Avenue, Peterborough 

Built in 1873 as a county court, the building was first converted into a nightclub around 1988.  

The club sat alongside fellow venue Central Park, which closed at the same time in 2002.  

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The building is now being converted into housing, after plans were given the go-ahead in July 2019. A rooftop garden, cinema room and an array of ensuite apartments are set to be included in the redevelopment. 

Conditions for living in the new apartments include that you are either employed full-time or a full-time student. 

2. Fez Club, Cambridge 

A club well-remembered for mirror-related issues, Fez has now been replaced by fellow-nightclub Mash. 

Following an initial announcement that the club would be closed temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic, the venue shut its doors for good in January 2021 after being unable to survive multiple lockdowns.

A decision was made not to renew the lease on the property when the finances became unsustainable. 

The new bar, Mash, promises a “vastly improved” dancefloor, along with table service and a welcoming attitude to all, regardless of gender, sexuality or race. 

3. Level 2, Huntingdon 

One nightclub that is not fondly remembered by all who frequented it was Level 2 in Huntingdon, in fact, the bar was forced to close in 2012 after several incidents of violence took place. 

Cambridgeshire Constabulary commented at the time that the bar had worst levels of crime in the county, with fears over its safety dating back to 2008. 

One particular incident, a mass confrontation in April 2012, caused the venue to shut for 28 days after it was ordered to do so by the Magistrates. 

After failing to pay rent on the property, the club’s management were eventually ordered to vacate the premises. 

4. The Luminar group of clubs, Peterborough 

The Luminar group of clubs, including Liquid, Envy, Bar Rock and New York, New York were all along one street in Peterborough, at one point or another.  

However, unfortunately none of these are still in business, with a plan to demolish the buildings having been rejected by the council in 2019. 

In their heyday, the largest of the bars, Liquid, had a capacity of 1,080 people, with a total capacity across the strip of almost 1,900. 

The buildings remain vacant, with their future uncertain. 

5. Minstrels, March 

Once Minstrels Nightclub and Bar, this 19th century building has now been converted into apartments after being purchased by a London-based development company. 

A previous application, approved in 2009, would have seen 10 flats created. However, the new owners insisted that no less than 15 flats would be a possibility. 

38 to 40 High Street March

38 to 40 High Street March - Credit: Archant

This is due to the extent of refurbishment required on the building, which received little maintenance since 2006. 

The new developers have had to work round a listed façade, also increasing the price of redevelopment, which supported their argument for a greater number of apartments than previously agreed. 

6. Mendi’s, Wisbech 

A former nightclub and restaurant, Mendi’s in Wisbech is now not only permanently closed, but on the market for £395,000.  

The historic venue in the town’s Georgian quarter was alive and kicking for almost 45 years, but became better known for private parties and functions in its later years. 

The property boasts a 5,102 square feet ground floor, with a function room and accommodation upstairs.  

It’s a sad end for the bar, which was owned by the Jones family since 1977. However, with the venue on the market, the future could still be bright for a new venue in the same location. 

7. The Palace, Chatteris 

Now the Pera Palace Turkish restaurant, the Palace ballroom in Chatteris was a corn exchange in the mid-19th century before being converted into a 400-seat cinema in 1910. 

The location eventually became a social destination in 1937, offering the first sprung-floor dancefloor in the country. 

Sepia image of people dancing in the Palace ballroom.

The Palace ballroom in its heyday. - Credit: Mr Bristow / Chatteris Community Archive

Despite the demise of the location’s ballroom, it’s dancing days are far from over, with the Turkish restaurant being available to hire for weddings and private parties.  

Pera Palace now promises “a relaxed feeling of calm” to its 200-people events, and a modern dining experience when open as a restaurant.