We’re only a couple of weeks into 2020, but London’s nightlife has already been dealt a blow. This time, it’s Old Street’s Club Aquarium – a long-running venue which features an actual swimming pool – that’s under threat. Its licence has been suspended and is up for a full review later this month.
The original incident that put Aquarium’s future in jeopardy happened after an afrobeat night in October. The Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) – a trade body which helped save Fabric and is now campaigning for Club Aquarium’s future – said of the incident: ‘No associated arrests or public disturbance complaints [were] reported.’ Instead, the NTIA says that a crowd was erroneously told that an afterparty was at Club Aquarium, and had to be dispersed. ‘Islington Police Licensing initially praised the club for the steps it had taken.’
The Islington Tribune reports that Club Aquarium was then implicated in a ‘bottle attack’ on New Year’s Eve, which saw a man hospitalised for head injuries consistent with being hit by a champagne bottle. Two men were also arrested at the club on New Year’s Day for possession of an offensive weapon and affray. The police response on this occasion has been more critical. ‘Unfortunately, this incident is not unique as the venue regularly comes to police attention owing to incidents of serious crime and disorder,’ Sergeant Neil Fraser has told Islington Council.
The police’s account of what happened on New Year’s Eve is very different from the version put forward by James Daglish, a lawyer representing the club. He told us: ‘It is simply inconceivable that a champagne bottle could have been taken from the venue and used in what is an appalling crime. It is also worth noting that the attack in question took place some distance from the venue on Singer Street. The connection with the venue is at best tenuous.’
Club Aquarium’s licence is up for review on Jan 28, and we’ll update you on the situation in the coming weeks.
Check out Time Out’s guide to nightlife in Shoreditch.