ACCRINGTON'S most famous nightclub is set to re-open next weekend - with some familiar faces at the helm.
Lar-de-dars, on Willow Street, has been taken over by members of the original management team who worked at the club during its heyday in the late 1980s. The club, which was originally the home of Accrington Arts Club, first became Lar-de-dars in 1982 after a £1m refurbishment. It was later renamed Eclipse, but dwindling numbers forced it to close two years ago following the death of owner Ken Massam.
Hundreds flocked to a nostalgic farewell night as club-goers mourned its passing. The club then remained empty for two years until a group of young pals re-opened it as Club Eclectic in August. They were forced to close earlier this month when running costs spiralled out of control - and Preston-based company Howard Leisure stepped in.
New licensee Ken Marland, who started as a DJ at Lar-de-dars in 1984, said he was confident they could turn the club's fortunes around. He said they would aim to appeal to a wider audience than before by offering free entry, drinks promotions and three separate rooms, including a karaoke bar, with different music policies.
Ken said: "It is going to be run in a different way to how it was before - the different rooms will make it more of an entertainment centre that offers three nights out in one. The Eclipse club went through a bad patch because there were too many pubs around with late licences and people didn't want to pay five or six pounds to go to a club. But we're going to change this by not charging entry.
"We've also named a bar after Ken Massam and the opening night will be two years to the day since we buried him - we didn't realise that until we spoke to his sister. But maybe that's a good omen as he made it a success. I'm quietly confident we can make it work. I ran Lar-de-dars for years and this is the third time I have been the licensee. We're very serious about it and I'm looking forward to doing business again in Accrington."
He added that Howard Leisure, which has also brought back former Lar-de-dars worker Ivan Symcox as assistant manager, had wanted to re-open the club earlier this year but the Club Eclectic team secured the lease first.
He said: "As soon as Club Eclectic started to look bad, we moved straight in. But to be fair they did a very good job in refurbishing the building. We've tidied some things up and brought in new sound and lighting equipment. We just felt that the area needed something different and Lar-de-dars will be a different concept altogether for the town. I think it will be a new era for Accrington."
The club will officially open next Saturday, 29 November, with fund-raising events throughout the night in aid of the Mayor of Hyndburn's charities.