On Friday I was delighted and intrigued to visit the new Pryzm nightclub in Portsmouth. The venue, previously Liquid and Envy, has new owners and has had £1 million invested in revamping the venue with the intention of making it the largest nightclub in Portsmouth.
I haven't been to what was Liquid in 3 or 4 years and even then I visited very rarely. Portsmouth Guildhall area has lost much of its nightlife in the last 5 to 8 years. This coupled with the growth of Gunwharf I believe has led to the nightlife dropping significantly in this location.
There have also been changes to our economy in those years which I believe has led to more 'pre drinking' this though is more likely to affect the smaller venues like pubs. There is then more of an importance on clubs to really pull you in, because you likely are not just walking pass in the street or jumping from pub to pub or club to club. You are going to have to book a taxi, get the train or have a non drinking friend.
I was attending the opening event along with fellow Pompey Bloggers Saffron and Charlie (and non bloggers Coming and Charlie's boyfriend Connor). We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go into the venue before it opened to the public. This meant we were able to walk around and see the changes and take a couple of photos before the masses made their entrance.
There are now 3 rooms, 2 of which are the former Liquid and Envy rooms. The third room is on the right as you enter. I was told by other visitors that this used to be the cloakroom and the gym. I have no idea. Each room has its own music style. Curve, formerly the gym, felt more R&B. Vinyl is 80's and 90's, with Pryzm being the club space.
There seems to be a conscious effort made to focus more on the seating / booth spaces. I think this may link back to the above point. Less people are now just happening to enter a nightclub. Nights are often more planned out and Pryzm wants you to plan your night out at their venue. So pushing more booths will (in theory) lead to more people booking their own space. Again particually in the Pryzm room, with the booths in a prime location in front of the stage. I can so easily see these 4 or 5 booths being sold most weekends.
For some this will not be ideal as the dance floor in each room will be very busy, with less space because of the seating. Pryzm's dance floor for example seemed to be shoulder to shoulder from 11.30pm onwards. Some people love this, some don't. I don't. But then I do like moving around and jumping between rooms. So not being on the dance floor isn't a problem for me, I'm happy to dance around in a space. Though the disco dance floor is fun, hehe.
The staff seemed well equipped to deal with the busyness. Yes I had to wait at the bar, but honestly isn't that expected?! Plus I don't think I ever had to wait that long. Non bar staff seemed friendly too, for only the second time in my life I saw a bouncer helping someone, a bit more than tipsy, down the stairs. They were not removing the person, they were just helping him and checking he was ok!
The greeting / welcoming staff and those we saw as we left were lovely too. Im aware this was the opening night, so I just hope this level of service and friendliness remains.
All in all I think there have been a few minor changes that contribute to a feeling that this is a very different venue to what it previously was as Liquid & Envy. Personally I feel that Pryzm will be, and is, looking to compete with TigerTiger in Gunwharf. While other small clubs and pubs exist. TigerTiger is the only real big player in the area. It will be interesting to see if Pryzm can continue to attract people to their venue without the same level of support TigerTiger has in terms of other small venue being nearby.
Possibly linked to that, I was surprised by the age range on the night, it was great. Previously Liquid seemed to predominantly target students. Now the new owners, Pryzm, look like they intend maybe to widen that target market.
On a personal note, it was great to meet up with my fellow Pompey Bloggers at a local venue. I was at the venue until 2.45am as a non drinker and I had a great night. I think that says a lot.
Also thanks to Ruth at LimeGreen for the event information and providing the below event photos.