When Club One opened in Ascot in Berkshire 11 years ago, it was one of the region’s leading music venues, attracting some of the greatest soul singers of all time from Alexander O’Neill and Faith Evans to The Temptations. But times change, and owner Rohan Thompson has been investing in the site over the past year to transform it into a Mayfair-style club for today’s market.
“It was all about the music back then – our tagline was ‘Real music for real people’,” he recalls. “We ran it like that for 10 years and it was great but it was time to change.” At the same time, the venue plugged the gap for a nightclub for over-25s on Fridays and Saturdays but Rohan says: “Ten years on, our customers have grown up and moved on so, moving forward, we needed to do something different with the club.”
He has been doing the work in phases since March, redesigning the interior himself. Working with furniture specialist Fitz Impressions, he installed five booths with champagne-style vodka tables, each sponsored by a different vodka brand: Ciroc, Belvedere, Stolichnaya, Absolut and Grey Goose. Seating up to 10 people, the banquettes are luxuriously upholstered in red wine-coloured faux leather from Panaz. Each booth has an ornate mirror plus a crystal chandelier hanging above.
These proved such a hit that Rohan added a larger booth, seating up to 20 people, again with a crystal chandelier above. Sponsored by Dom Pérignon, this champagne booth serves as the VIP area. “It gives us another wow factor when people come into the club,” Rohan says.
In the final phase of the front-of-house revamp, he added three more champagne booths, each seating 12 to 15 people and, like the Dom Pérignon banquette, all upholstered in lighter tan faux leather. These are sponsored by Louis Roederer Cristal, Dom Pérignon Rosé, and Veuve Clicquot.
Other improvements include new colour-changing LED downlighting and moving heads, while the pillars, bar panels and some walls have been clad in Geometric Fabrics’ white Shine faux leather with a floating button finish. The space, which retains a dancefloor, has also been opened up by replacing stone balustrading with glass and chrome panels to divide up the areas and reflect the light. “The whole club looks bigger, crisper and cleaner,” Rohan says.
With two bars, Club One provides table service, with a focus on sales of spirits and champagnes by the bottle. Accompanied by mixers for spirits, bottles are carried to the table with sparklers to add theatre. Champagnes range from Taittinger, Moët & Chandon, Laurent-Perrier and Veuve Clicquot to Bollinger, Dom Pérignon and Cristal. There is also a list of over 100 cocktails.
Club One is at the back of Rohan’s other business, Bar One, which he created out of a former pub nearly seven years ago. This includes a restaurant which means customers can enjoy food and drinks in there and then move on to the club for late-night partying. Rohan, who has been in clubs for 20 years and started as a DJ himself, still has live music at Club One, with recent acts such as jazz artist Peter White and R&B singer Alexa Goddard.
Ascot is an affluent area, and Club One is right next door to Ascot Racecourse. Rohan says this means it attracts a mix of local people and out-of-towners, open Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm to 3am. “People were going to London so we thought we needed to give them a reason to stay,” he adds. “Now we have really transformed the club again, we say we are a London-style club in Ascot.”
Club One, 1 High Street, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JF Tel: 01344 874500 www.cluboneascot.com
Origtinally published in the November 2012 edition of Bar magazine.