Harrogate nightclub Rehab thanks customers after closing down

Rehab Harrogate - Google maps
Rehab Harrogate - Google maps

The owner of former Harrogate nightclub Rehab has revealed they were forced to close down because of falling trade and rising business rates.

Rehab opened on Parliament Street in 2008 and became a firm favourite with club-goers, offering free entry and live music.

However Richard Brookes, who owned the club alongside business partner Charlie Watson, admitted that the club has struggled to attract the same crowds over the past two years.

The pair made the "disappointing" decision to close the club down last month and held their final night at Rehab on Saturday, June 11.

Mr Brookes said he was thrilled that Rehab had proved so popular over the years but stressed that the time was right to walk away from the business.

He said: "We never really expected Rehab to go on for as long as it did. We've been open for eight years so it's been a fair amount of time for an independent venue to be going.

"When we first opened we were coming up against well-established brands so we had to put a lot of effort in, bringing in great up and coming DJs.

"We started doing a battle of the bands and created a lot of interesting nights. We had some magnificent free New Years' Eve parties which went on until 8am.

"But it was difficult putting on fantastic acts or nights every week in terms of finances and the crowds during the weekdays were getting slimmer and slimmer.

"In the end it became a two-night business and, with the rates being incredibly high in that part of town, it became too expensive for us to keep running."

Rehab has become the second nightclub in the district to close this year after Ripon's Matrix held its final night on New Years' Eve.

And Mr Brookes said late night venues in Harrogate, including bars and restaurants, now face a battle to survive against competition from chains and rising business rates.

He said: "It was incredibly disappointing to close Rehab as it was a private enterprise and there was a lot of shock and sadness from ourselves and the customers.

"But, it's difficult to pay the rent for seven days a week with only two or three days in business and that's the same for a lot of places in Harrogate.

"Bars are also opening for longer because of the extended licensing, that's made it tougher for us because it's taken a little bit more custom away.

"But there's so much competition now in Harrogate in terms of bars and restaurants and it's getting thinner on the ground. I don't think it will get any easier."

Mr Brookes thanked his loyal customers for their support over the years and said that both he and Charlie have had a "blast" running Rehab.

While he didn't rule out opening another club in Harrogate in the future, he said a "bit of breathing space" was required before another decision was made.

He said: "We've had some very good customers over the years and there was a fair amount of shock when we announced the news.

"But, I'm sure there will be a new venue there in a few months time and hopefully we will just be a fond memory.

"There were a fair amount of tears from the staff on the last night because people have put their hearts and souls into it.

"We will now take stock and will never say never to coming back. But, it seems that until Harrogate has a university, like Leeds or York, it will be difficult to get that night time business."