With a reputation for excellent music, Circa has been one of the sexiest bars in Soho for over seven years and now it’s turning the sexy up to 11 with the arrival of its strapping younger brother, Circa: The Club, down on Victoria Embankment right by the Thames this Friday (8 Jun). Owner Alan Winter talks us through the hottest new addition to London’s LGBTQ nightlife.
Hi Alan, how is everything coming together for the opening weekend of Circa: The Club?
Opening a new venue is always a hectic time but we’ve got everything locked in for this one. The DJs are primed and raring to go, the DJ booth and bar are sparkling and the I’m just itching to see the place full with all the new lighting in action.
What made you want to take this big leap and open a Circa night club?
I’ve always wanted to have a club and this space felt like a very natural expansion for the Circa brand. There’s been such a loss of LGBTQ+ spaces in recent years, particularly in central London, that I felt it was time to take action.
Can you talk us through the process from the moment you said ‘yes’ until now?
It has been quite a long process overall. We first looked at Hungerford House a year and a half ago but it fell through at that point, which was really disappointing. However, when it became available again in January, I knew the universe had brought it back to us for a reason. Since then there’s been a huge refurb to do, basically gutting all the interior and completely re-imagining the space.
What made you choose Hungerford House?
I had the same feeling as I had seven years ago when I walked into Circa Soho that it was the right space for me to do something with. Both buildings have a lot of history – 62 Frith Street dates back to 1690 and Hungerford House was the original power station for the lights along Embankment, the station and the The Savoy. It’s an incredible location right on the river and I still get goosebumps now when I realise it’s part of the Circa family now.
And describe what work you have done to the building?
We have stripped back as much as possible to really highlight the amazing features. There’s the original brickwork, incredible high ceilings and beautiful arches that previously had been hidden away or boxed in.
The club is multi layered – can you describe the various parts?
The ground floor will be opening soon (as a very different space – more news to come on that!). I don’t want to give too much away about inside because it’s a very wow space when you get to walk around it. Sneak peek though: there is a mezzanine level for hanging out, taking selfies and watching over the dancefloor and DJ booth.
The venue looks stunning but we know the music is the most important thing to you, can you tell us what the music policy will be and who will be DJing?
The amazing Circa DJs will be leading the way with music – they’re the best in town. It’s going to be a space for each of them to expand their sound and take things to a level they may not have been able to at Circa Soho. It will be predominantly house but always expect the unexpected with the Circa bunch.
And you’ve build a mothership sized mirrorball DJ booth?
Of course, it’s iconic! Plus the DJs refused to play in anything less. I’ve created monsters!
What can we expect at the opening weekend parties? Who’s playing on each night?
What you always get from Circa, but bigger! The best (looking!) crowd in town, great customer service, amazing value for money and our incredible team of DJs. Sam Londt and Storm Mollison will be leading Friday and Jonathan Bestley and Adam Turner are doing Saturday at The Club. Circa Soho will be open as usual until 1am where wristbands will be available for discounted entry to The Club.
And after the opening, what are the regular opening times?
To begin with, 11pm until 4am at The Club on Fridays and Saturdays. Circa Soho will continue as usual from 1pm until 1am seven days a week.
Finally, can you sum up what you want Circa: The Club to be to people and to the London scene?
Circa, as a brand, always has and always will be about the people who make it – our amazing bar staff, management, DJs and most importantly, our customers. The scene has drastically been missing a space for the whole spectrum of LGBTQ+ people and The Club will be here to provide that space. It’s all about having a good time in the end and London seems to need that now more than ever.