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I went to the new Flares Monday club night so you don’t have to: here’s my totally honest review

Spoiler alert: there were fire eaters???


For years York has been in dire need of a Monday student night. Whether craving an evening to relax after a lecture-filled start to the week, using a bank holiday as an excuse to get plastered, or simply so entrenched in a life of student debauchery that all the days blur into one, students have often been met with disappointment at the lack of nightlife on a Monday.

Up until now, barring the brief period of Broke Mondays at Ziggy’s, the only club open on a Monday was Popworld, and let’s face it: no one ever ends up in Popworld through choice. You either magically materialise on its (disappointingly small) rotating dancefloor or simply wake up the next morning finding the stamp on your hand, having no memory of how it got there. Either way, the vibes in Popworld are always questionable and it has never been a motivator for anyone to voluntarily go out on a Monday and risk sleeping through their Tuesday 9 am. I’m sure all York students can agree that we have been crying out for decent Monday club night for far too long.

Well, it looks like it might be time to start thinking of excuses to skip your Tuesday seminars, because the first new Flares event absolutely fulfilled this need. As a somewhat washed-up third-year who is desperate for any excuse to leave the house and procrastinate my work, the thought of a Monday Flares had me harassing my groupchat of friends into testing it out, a risky move considering it was the first night of its kind and we had no idea what to expect. I’m not sure whether it was the £1.50 jägerbombs, the buzz from plastering free Flares temporary tattoos all over myself in the disabled toilet, or some combination of the two, but this ended up being one of my favourite nights out of the year so far.

Highlights

The queue was blissfully short upon arrival at 20 minutes to midnight, which initially sent alarm bells ringing, but luckily the dance floor was packed. The upstairs was sealed off, so it wasn’t as busy as a Friday night, but the vibes from downstairs were immaculate, with only a few people crop-dusting the dance floor with suspicious looks on their faces (what is it about Flares that attracts people that can’t stop farting?).

The queue was blissfully short upon arrival at 20 minutes to midnight, which initially sent alarm bells ringing, but luckily the dance floor was packed. The upstairs was sealed off, so it wasn’t as busy as a Friday night, but the vibes from downstairs were immaculate, with only a few people crop-dusting the dance floor with suspicious looks on their faces (what is it about Flares that attracts people that can’t stop farting?).

Led by UK-based Sicilian DJ mddiction, the music was slightly different to the normal Flares fodder (not a Grease medley in sight!). Think Salvos at its best, peppered with enough cheesy Flares classics to still leave you having lost your voice by the end of the night from shouting Dancing Queen loud enough to have earned yourself a spot in the cast of Mamma Mia.

Memorable moments

As the night was officially a Refreshers event, there were few special features and appearances, with two women doing some sort of dance with massive colourful fans. It might sound rubbish but there is nothing more entertaining than watching two women who definitely don’t get paid enough do an elaborate dance for a group of students so drunk they have no idea what’s going on.

Even more exciting than that, the night was underscored by murmurs of fire eaters making an appearance. Every time I went into the smoking area there was a new sighting of these supposed performers: “I saw one of them rehearsing!”, “They’ve just gone in the back, I’m sure of it!”. I’m not sure if the whole event was one collective fever dream spurred on by the deliriousness of being in Flares on a Monday night, but I have no recollection of ever seeing any actual fire eaters apart from on the Flares Instagram story, so either I just completely blacked it out, or the music was so good I didn’t manage to leave the dance floor to go and see them.

The downsides

The only drawback (and this may be a dealbreaker) was that my walk home from the club was met with disappointment after disappointment as almost all the kebab vans were absent from their spots, and Efes was closed. As a girl who needs a portion of hashbrowns after a night out more than she needs oxygen, this was heart-breaking stuff. Oki’s Kebab was open in its normal spot but I foolishly walked past as my allegiance lies with Deniz Best Kebab. Don’t make the same mistake I did: I’ve now learnt my lesson and am willing to sacrifice part of my loyalty for the sake of some hashbrowns and go to Oki’s (at least until Deniz decides to set up shop on a Monday night too).

Final thoughts

If that first Monday was anything to go by, I have very high hopes for this as a weekly club night. I’ll take any excuse to go to Flares, and with exciting weekly themes, drinks deals cheap enough to get you hammered without making too much of a dent in your overdraft, and a different vibe of music that both Salvos and Flares devotees are bound to enjoy, I can see myself staking out a corner on the dance floor and setting up camp until my deadlines have passed and I can graduate.

Although last Monday was Taylor Swift night (so I did not attend, sorry Swifties), I will definitely be dragging my friends back to Flares on a Monday night very soon. If you’ve ever considered a classic Friday Flares a bit too cheesy, been put off by the lack of Taylor Swift at Salvos, or felt too scared of getting your ear bitten off in Kuda (who hasn’t), then who knows, this brand new Flares night may be just what you need.

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