Nightingale Essex House
February 1994 to February 2008
The Nightingale decided it wanted to expand, but the Thorp Street site was hemmed in by the Hippodrome Theatre who had plans to expand themselves. The club decided to sell the Thorp Street venue to the theatre and began the hunt for new premises. They looked at various premise including Route 66, The Digbeth Institute and Essex House. They finally settled on Essex House and the club opened in its present location in 1994. The club has undergone several refurbishments and even an expansion into neighbouring premises which operated as a gay bar for a short time, The Woodloft. The club is set over a three storey building, formerly an electrical warehouse, with a large dance floor and bar area downstairs, a quieter lounge in the middle floor and a smaller dance arena on the top floor. When it first opened the entrance was situated on the corner of Lower Essex Street and Kent Street and the dance floor was sunken into what was the loading bay of the warehouse.
Interestingly Bill Gavan, Subway City owner, attempted to buy the club in 1998, along with the vacant premises opposite, to create a huge gay leisure complex. The bid failed as members rejected it and the other property eventually opened as Club DV8.
The club eventually stopped being a private members' club for commercial reasons, although still retained the same mechanisms to run the club and still has yearly memberships as before. The club still retains a dual focus of community and commerce.