Top LGBT Blackpool nightclub owner snaps up bar in Middlesbrough, his home town

A top LGBT club owner in Blackpool is bringing his successful brand "back home" to Teesside. Middlesbrough[1] "born and bred" Matthew Armstrong has snapped up the former Oak pub in the town. He will open Sapphires, one of UK holiday mecca Blackpool's "premier" gay cabaret bars and nightclubs at the Newport Road venue next month.

Sapphires, which operates a much larger venue in the West coast resort, features some of the biggest drag acts in the country. It comes after Albert Road nightclub Tiny suddenly closed its doors last month[2], leaving Middlesbrough with no LGBT pub or club scene. Matthew has built up Sapphires with co-owner Kevin Barnard.

He said: "I was brought up in Cargo Fleet[3] and North Ormesby[4]. "Middlesbrough has always had a gay scene but there is nothing left in the town now. "We will carry out a small refurbishment and Sapphires Middlesbrough will be a smaller version of the Blackpool one.

"We do cabaret, dancing and DJs in Blackpool.

The club features top drag acts from London and Manchester

"Being a local lad, I always watch what's going on and I always wanted to move back to Middlesbrough. "When I saw the Oak had come up, I thought 'this is an ideal situation' so I got in touch with the landlord. "It's great to do something back in my home town and put something back.

"Middlesbrough is up and coming, it's a great place to invest.

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"It's desperate for a vibrant gay scene, it's quite a multi-cultural place. "There's a large gay population and there have always been gay venues; Cassidy's, Annies. "Hopefully we can help bring Gay Pride back to the town - that would be great.

Top LGBT Blackpool nightclub owner snaps up bar in Middlesbrough, his home townSapphires will open mid-April at the former Oak pub on Newport Road

"We have some of the top drag queens from Manchester and London appearing.

"It's exciting times for us." Sapphires Middlesbrough is due to open by mid-April. Like the Teesside Live Facebook page[5] to get the latest news in your feed and join our group dedicated to court and crime coverage[6].

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References

  1. ^ Middlesbrough (www.gazettelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ nightclub Tiny suddenly closed its doors last month (www.gazettelive.co.uk)
  3. ^ Cargo Fleet (www.gazettelive.co.uk)
  4. ^ North Ormesby (www.gazettelive.co.uk)
  5. ^ Facebook page (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ join our group dedicated to court and crime coverage (www.facebook.com)
  7. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  8. ^ Instagram (www.instagram.com)
  9. ^ here (www.gazettelive.co.uk)
  10. ^ [email protected] (www.gazettelive.co.uk)

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