This month I returned to a nightclub for the first time since March 13, 2020, writes university student Dom Smith.

I remember the date specifically because as a 20-year-old, the loss of nightlife during the pandemic hit me hard. But finally after 17 months, I belatedly was 'out out' in Basingstoke.

My friends and I enjoyed a few drinks at Wetherspoons before we made that half-embarrassed walk up to the Top of Town where we queued for way too long and made it up the familiar stairs into the red-velvet mayhem of Basingstoke's Fever. It was my latest personal step in returning to something like normalcy.

I bumped into loads of old friends, the dance floor was busy and it was clear that many others like me were ready to let off some steam after the past year-and-a-half of being locked up indoors.

Basingstoke Gazette:

But on my way home after a great night out, I started to reflect on Basingstoke's nightlife scene and the choices available to those heading out for an evening. While I saw many old faces during the night, everyone else had gone to Reading or London instead.

For many 18-24-year-olds in Basingstoke, the town's nightlife does not include Fever - it is Fever. We have no other options. While we love a night out there as much as the next person, it is little wonder that people feel tempted to jet off to the bright lights of far-flung Southampton or Reading instead. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

The Berkshire town has a population of 345,000 - and nearly 15 nightclubs. In comparison, Basingstoke has just two clubs - Fever and Plush. While our population is admittedly smaller (183,000), it shows just how under-served we are in terms of places to go out.

Basingstoke Gazette:

I like Fever and I enjoy going. I wouldn't go to Plush as it seems to be for people who are a little older than me which leaves me with two options. Fever or a different town. Considering the size of Basingstoke, that’s an irritating situation.

I wanted to write this piece as an appeal to potential businesses and the borough council to sort out Basingstoke's nightlife. Our residents need more options otherwise they will spend their money elsewhere, meaning the town loses out.

Basingstoke Gazette:

As someone who studies economics as part of their degree, I can see this is a case of supply and demand. But believe me, the demand is there.

After being stuck inside taking a mandatory pause from clubbing, there will be thousands of people in Basingstoke wanting somewhere to go and enjoy themselves.

It's not breaking news to say that there are enough youths in the area for a buzzing nightlife to be entirely conceivable. Almost a quarter of the town's population is under 20 (42,000), according to figures.

Someone needs to take a chance on Basingstoke. To anyone with enough funds who has been thinking about establishing a new club, I urge you to do it. I'll be there. And so will my friends. You'd be doing us all a favour and I have a feeling you'd make a decent return on your investment.