As part of a series celebrating Morecambe’s Finest – the personalities and unsung heroes who make our town great – reporter GREG LAMBERT speaks to MIKE ZORAB who is following in his family’s tradition on the town’s pub and club scene
When Mike Zorab was one year old, he had his first birthday party in Crystal T’s nightclub in Morecambe.
“I also had my fourth, fifth and sixth, and many more after that,” he said.
Founded and run by Mike’s dad Peter Zorab, the club known affectionately as T’s was a mainstay of Morecambe’s entertainment scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Hundreds would pack in at weekends during its peak years and the club was also heaving on the famous Wednesday ‘ladies nights’ and for its infamous foam parties.
Crystal T’s was also where Mike grew up and began to learn about the pub and club trade from the days when he was still at primary school.
Now the 31-year-old father of two is making a return to his first love – running a nightclub.
Sadly Crystal T’s has been closed since 2005 and these days the building is under different ownership.
So Mike is aiming to transform another long-standing venue on Morecambe prom, to bring something different to the town’s nightlife.
As new manager of the Queens Hotel, his aim is to establish the late-night bar as the town’s only proper nightclub.
Mike is excited at returning to the licensed trade after a seven-year absence, and is working towards a grand reopening of the Queens this Friday (October 3).
Aside from helping his dad at T’s, Mike’s CV includes a spell running Oscar’s bar in the ground floor of the Crystal T’s building. He also managed The Reflex 1980s bar in Blackpool for two years and is a licensed security doorman.
Now he has big plans for the Queens, which has also been known as Pacha’s and Baroque during its long history.
The venue on the corner of Marine Road and Queen Street has, like many bars all over the country, endured a challenging past decade.
The smoking ban, changes in people’s lifestyles, rising prices and competition from supermarket chains has caused a drop in trade for many town night spots.
But Mike is convinced that a few changes can transform the Queens’ fortunes.
“I want to do things that will get people talking,” he said.
“If we shut off the side door and just let people come in through the front door, like when it was Pacha’s, then people will immediately start to wonder why we’re doing it.
“I’m introducing a new menu and cocktails, and want to turn the raised area into a dancefloor.
“DJs are important, and we’ll be bringing in people who have a following.”
Events planned for the future include an Escape dance music night on October 25 with DJ Matt Thistlethwaite, a northern soul night, a 70s night, beach party nights, regular ‘bandioke’ and a Halloween party.
The Queens is already creating a stir on social media, and has been busy in the run-up to the official reopening.
Mike says this proves there is demand for a nightclub amongst Morecambe people.
“It gets to a certain time of night and people think there’s only a few places to go.
“It’s good to hear people talking about Crystal T’s and Harveys. But I remember the days when we used to have them, the Blue Rhapsody, the Carleton and the Oyster.
“What have we got now? Morecambe needs a nightclub.”
The Queens’ grand reopening is this Friday night from 9pm to 4am.