Easter at the newly refurbished Duke of Wellington is set to be rather a raucous affair with bears and bunnies in abundance. General Manager Oliver Blatherwick explains more.
Hi Oliver, you’ve been at the Welly for a while now, are you settled in?
Yes, we have finally got the Welly back to her former glory, after our closure for the structural works, and we have a great team in place. The dust has settled in time for us to stir it up again for some massive parties and events planned.
Are you missing cabaret and drag seven nights a week?
But you do have some lovely ladies down at the Duke of Welly… How are Tuesdays with Shelia going?
Yes, there are a few that I just couldn’t get rid of. Sheila Simmonds’ #BusyLady Bingo is like bingo on poppers – cheap and loose with sporadic moments of complete confusion and uncontrollable laughter. It is such a fun and different night.
And the Wednesday quiz with Martha and Topsie?
Is the best Wednesday night quiz! It’s been going a while now and certainly has a following. Martha keeps her quiz format a well-kept secret and is ferociously protective over it. And Topsie loves to drink, so it’s the perfect quiz duo. It’s a well balanced quiz that even I can answer a few of the questions. Contact us on all forms of media to book a table for both great nights.
How have the regulars reacted to the refit?
The most common response has been “The place doesn’t look any different, what have you done?” and my reply is usually “The place hasn’t fallen down!” After the structural works we were able to smarten the Welly up and sort out all the issues, meaning the toilets stopped leaking, the outside area stopped smelling, and we patched up the holes in the walls. Plus, it is difficult to notice any changes when you are in such a busy, packed bar.
If someone has never been to the Welly, how would you describe it and the customers?
The gay Soho local; a warm, unpretentious atmosphere for bears and friends.
Can you talk us through what you have planned over the Easter weekend, each night from Thursday?
We’re open until 1am all through the Easter weekend. On Thursday you’ll find myself DJing old skool and 90s (my favourite), Friday it’s the amazing return of Heidi Luscious – she’ll be rollerskating in with her disco and chart mashups. Saturday is our Boyz Gold Winners Party with DJ David Robson, and finally DJ Braydion will be playing camp pop and classics.
What other plans do you have for 2018?
We have plenty planned. We have a new Monday night called DILF with some amazing drink offers (£2.50 pint of Kronenbourg) and old skool tunes. May is also a busy month with another bank holiday party, Eurovision Final Party hosted by Vanity Von Glow and the Royal Wedding. Future plans for street parties are in place too.
And finally, what does winning the Boyz Award mean to you?
The good thing about the Boyz Awards is that they give the opportunity for the bars to reconnect with the community and also the acknowledgment and recognition from their customers. It is such an honour and we are so proud to accept the award and we will be using this to promote world peace.