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UK Nightclubs' Mass Closure Attributed to Gen Z

One of the UK’s biggest nightclub chains that owns Pryzm and Atik, is shutting down 17 of its venues, with the loss of 500 jobs.


According to the BBC, Peter Marks the boss of Rekom, that owns Pryzm and Atik, said that students cutting back on clubbing was a crucial reason for the closure of the clubs.


The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has published its latest stats about closures in the UK clubbing sector, reporting that 396 nightclubs have closed down since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020.

Marks thought the cost-of-living crisis was the main reason that young people are frequenting nightclubs less often.

According to Time Out, the average cost of a night out rose from £68.03 in March 2022 to £73.36 in October. These numbers, already astronomical for many students, must have risen in the past year.

The Office of National Statistics found that the average price of a pint in the UK in January 2024 is now £4.69, up from £4.23 in January 2023.

Marks told the BBC that students who still go to nightclubs were going out later and spending less money at the club. With the rising cost of drinking in venues, students are prioritising pre-drinks, and this has had a knock-on effect on the nightlife industry.

Money and Mental Health surveyed students about how the cost-of-living crisis was affecting their mental health and how they dealt with money. Just over half of the students surveyed said that the rising cost of living was impacting their mental health. With many students worrying about how to make ends meet, it is no wonder that clubbing has taken a back foot.


In addition, studies have shown that students and young people are cutting back on alcohol, and this has led to a decrease in clubbing. A study by Drinkaware found that young adults have the highest rates of non-drinking, rising from 14 percent in 2017 to 21 percent in 2023.

Gen Z has been labelled the ‘sober curious generation, according to Mintel. Data shows that in 2023, around 40% of Gen Z were conscious of limiting alcohol.

Mintel found that around two-thirds of consumers between 18-24 worry about the emotional impact of alcohol. Mental health has become a priority for Gen Z, and reducing alcohol is part of prioritising mental well-being for many. 

It is reflected on TikTok, with a rise of sober influencers promoting the benefits of sobriety. Creators of ‘sobertok’ detail how much better they feel mentally and physically and give others who may be ‘sober curious’ ideas and inspiration for how to cut out alcohol.

Many young people may still be going to clubs but cutting back on the booze. Love Islander Scott Thomas makes sober content on TikTok, saying that being sober on a night out is like having a ‘superpower.

He said: “I only drank to escape and to become this other person. Do I even want to drink then?”

Thomas provides advice on how to enjoy going out sober, including exercising to feel confident, wearing a nice outfit, and ensuring you always have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand to avoid prying questions.


In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that students were forced to find creative ways to socialise that didn’t involve clubbing. House parties, gatherings at home, and dinners with friends replaced clubbing for many, even when clubs were back open at the end of the pandemic. These nights are often much cheaper and more intimate, so it is no wonder that young people are prioritising other forms of socialising over nightclubs.


In a poll of over 100 young people, 66% said they were clubbing a lot less compared with before the pandemic. Around 20% of the voters said they were clubbing about the same amount, while only 13% said they were clubbing more before the pandemic.


When asked why they had cut down on clubbing, 47% of voters said they had found other ways to socialise or they didn’t want to go clubbing anymore for other reasons. A significant 32% of participants said they were drinking less alcohol, and 16% said the cost-of-living crisis was the main reason they were clubbing less. Additionally, 5% said they were clubbing, much less for mental health reasons.


The reasons for cutting back on clubbing may be diverse, but these figures show that for many young people, nightclubs are no longer an integral part of how they socialise.


According to Rolling Stone, the NTIA said: “The closure of nightclubs transcends mere economic repercussions; it represents a cultural crisis endangering the vibrancy and diversity of our nightlife.


“Nightclubs serve as vital hubs of social interaction, artistic expression, and community cohesion, making their preservation imperative.”


It seems that this sentiment is not reflected as strongly among young people. Perhaps these closures represent a significant shift in the attitudes of the younger generation, who undoubtedly will keep social interaction, community, and artistic expression alive in ways that may not centre around nightclubs.


"Circa nightclub" by divya_ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


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