Big Night In: Newcastle’s bar and club boycott

A look back at the boycott of Newcastle's clubs and bars that took place a fortnight ago...

Alex Rimmer
12th November 2021
Instagram: @bignightin_ncl
The national campaign ‘Big Night In’ began after a huge increase in reports of spiking incidents, including spiking via injection. This seemingly new phenomenon of using needles to inject drugs has caused hospitalisations and made a lot of women think twice about going out.

The campaign encouraged people in every UK city to boycott clubs and bars on a designated evening to not only raise awareness of the issue, but to also force establishments to implement procedures to help keep their customers safe. 

Thursday 28th of October was Newcastle’s designated ‘Big Night In’, prompting many establishments to respond with their own road map to increase safety measures.

On the campaign's own Instagram account, the organiser of the movement summarised the aims of the boycott as, ‘prevention, welfare and support’. In order for these aims to be fulfilled, they believe establishments should provide extensive training for bar staff, have an appointed welfare officer, and have a clear procedure to support victims after an incident. 

Thursday 28th of October was Newcastle’s designated ‘Big Night In’, and the announcement of the plan to stay at home prompted many establishments to respond with a road map to increase safety measures to tackle the issue.

For example, popular student destination Market Shaker stated on social media that “we will be stepping up our efforts to safeguard each of you by introducing the following new proactive measures with immediate effect”.

They pledged to increase searches upon entry, introduce the use of bodycams and CCTV, provide drinks covers and testing kits, offer welfare training and have a designated area in the bar where people can seek help if needed.

Other establishments followed suit with this quick response. Soho Rooms announced they will be employing plain clothes staff to monitor customer activity and have devised a “detailed action plan” to increase safety.

Some clubs chose to display their solidarity with the cause by not opening their doors at all on the night of the boycott such as 'Swingers' - Grey Club's popular Thursday event

When the boycott was announced, it may have appeared that staying in for just one night would prove inconsequential and the lack of custom may have had little financial consequence to establishments across the nation. However, the campaign brought about an abundance of proposed increased safety measures, as well as highlighting the establishments that have readily taken action, and the ones which have stayed silent. This may lead students and locals alike to be more selective with the bars and clubs they attend and force all businesses to be vocal about their respective action plans.

Although there is still a long way to go when it comes to safety, the boycott certainly proved that one night in made a step forward for many nights out to come. 

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