High street that became a boozer’s paradise
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest News news every morning.
“It’s a wam bam booza, get Bamboozled@Bambooza,” shouts the signs above Bambooza on Stockton high street.
Next door to Bambooza, once a much-loved toy shop, is Ibiza bar, formerly a bus ticket office, and next to that is a revamped pub, now called Horners. It boasts an “unbelievabull” offer – one can of Red Bull and one shot of vodka for £1.95 “all night, every night”.
Turn right, instead, when you leave Bambooza and you come to Goldies, a bar which was once a Barclays bank, that greets its clientele with a notice stating: “We operate a zero tolerance drugs policy. You may be stopped and searched.”
A little further along is Zanzibar, a nightclub housed in a one-time Odeon cinema that long ago abandoned its fight to survive after an out-of-town multiplex was built.
Should you still need a drink, you could cross the road to the Thomas Sheritan, a tasteful Wetherspoons conversion of the former magistrates building.
Stockton, a typical north-east town, has seen more changes in the past 40 years than in hundreds before, undergoing upheavels on its high street, which dates back to the 14th century and is reputedly England’s widest, where pubs and clubs now dominate.
Like many other towns, it faces the challenge of controlling drink-related anti-social behaviour as new laws next week allow pubs and clubs to extend their opening hours and drinking time.
The town has already seen the launch of a scheme where licensed premises and takeaways have to pay for extra policing on Friday and Saturday night. The scheme was so successful that the police extended it elsewhere in Teesside. Furthermore, conversions of shops to licensed premises in the high street will be more difficult under council plans put out for consultation.
The council and police say they will remain vigilant as they prepare for the big day, or rather night, on November 24 when the law comes into force.
Get alerts on News when a new story is published