First look inside Club Upside Down as it aims to shake up Sunderland’s night life

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.
Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.
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New venture Club Upside Down is hoping to turn Sunderland’s night life on its head.

Around £150,000 and three months of renovation works have been ploughed into creating the nightclub in the former Bavaria site in Vine Place, which will pull its first pints tonight from 11pm.

Owners Michael Watson and Chris Bungoni fought hard to obtain a 5am alcohol licence from Sunderland City Council in a bid to inject some new life into Sunderland’s clubbing scene.

The business partners have already had considerable success with P’s & Q’s on Tunstall Road, which has become one of the city centre’s most popular bars, and they say the nightclub will allow them to bring more big name international DJs to the city, whilst also providing an outlet for home-grown talent.

Michael said: “Sunderland used to have a really good nightclub scene with places like Chambers and Annabels, but in recent years it’s taken a bit of a dive and there’s only a couple of places left to go late into the night and no where that’s playing the kind of music we do.

“Because of P’s and Q’s we know there’s a demand for house, soul, funk and ‘90s dance music and this club is a natural progression of that. Club Upside Down has actually been a long time coming. We were doing raves in warehouses five years ago, just because there was no where for people to go, but we’ve worked with the council on this to get the right licence and open in the right location.”

The upstairs terrace

The upstairs terrace

The club, which will be open until 5.30am on weekends and until 3.30am during the week will have a diverse music policy, including student nights and rock nights, as well as club nights from the likes of Haze Records, Loop and Wonky Sessions.

In a nod to the warehouse rave days, the downstairs of the site has an industrial theme while upstairs has a quirky look, featuring murals of the Wearmouth Bridge and a psychedelic Alice in Wonderland created by local graffiti artist Jack Ayre, as well as a terrace. Thousands has also been invested in a Void Acoustics sound system.

The club marks the latest investment in city centre nightlife, with 808, The Church Door and Manor Bar all opening their doors in recent months.

Michael said: “A lot the investment, like 808, has come from local people who grew up with the clubbing scene, who go to festivals and Ibiza, eat good food and listen to good music, and they want to provide some of that here.”

Graffiti mural honouring Wearmouth Bridge

Graffiti mural honouring Wearmouth Bridge

The club, which has created more than 30 jobs for the city, opens its doors tonight with DJ sets from Garry Todd and Ali Love.

Entry is £4 guestlist, £5 tickets or £8 on the door.

The club is housed in the former Bavaria in Vine Place

The club is housed in the former Bavaria in Vine Place

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.

Upside Down Club, Vine Place, Sunderland.