For many a year, I have argued that the Outback is the greatest club in Britain. Many have disagreed with me- including student paper The Tab, who featured it in their list of ‘most tragic hometown clubs’. The slow suffocation of the UK’s night time economy is a tragedy- without adequate support, nightlife within the UK will simply be dominated by a series of indistinguishable, soulless chain-cocktail bars. There is, however, an almost-imperceivable thin, silver lining. Finally, with the mandatory closing of all nightclubs in the UK, the Outback is now, objectively, in the top 5 nightclubs currently open in the UK.
In my heart, at least, the Outback belongs in the top 5 nightclubs of all time. Perhaps even in the top 5 places on earth. When I tell my non-Manx friends, they struggle to understand why I have such an affinity with a small, hometown nightclub. But that’s why, isn’t it? Because it’s my hometown’s small nightclub.
How do you describe the OB to someone who isn’t Manx? I suppose you start with the fact that it is a nightclub, and its name referencing its supposed Australian theme. It’s a loose theme, the equivalent of a miserable friend who puts a £1.20 mask from Dealz and claims it is a Halloween costume. Perhaps it’s a play on subtlety, a surprisingly ‘less is more’ attitude from a nightclub that is as subtle as the sexual tension between that brother and sister duo from Gogglebox.
Perhaps its understated theme comes from the fact the Outback is truly as Manx as the hills. In the Outback, you will see everyone you have ever known, in their most disgraceful states. The smoking deck is a place to connect, reconnect and forget everyone you have ever known. It is a place to find love, however fleeting that may be. Rumour has it that there have been couples who have become engaged on the OB smoking deck- which is essentially saying “if our relationship can survive the OB, it can stand anything”. That’s romance, baby x
Similarly, to the smoking deck, the female loos are a social hub. They are a haven away from the men of the club- a place where you can complain to your friends about how your boyfriend is being an ars*hole. While the smoking deck may have started many a relationship, the women’s toilets have undoubtedly ended them: women, whether friends or strangers, assuring each other that “he just isn’t worth it”.
The highlight of the OB is towards the very end of the night. Finding yourself on the dancefloor isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience- sweaty 18 years old avoiding the sweaty “old crowd” (anyone over 18). The tunes are cheesy, the OB being self-aware enough to know what it’s audience like: more Freed from Desire, less whatever is actually cool now (a Venn diagram of darts walk-ons and songs played past 2am in the OB has a lot of overlap). People desperately try and find someone to get off with- like an intensely grotty, less attractive Love Island. When the lights come on, removed from the high of absolute bangers, there’s a unique OB nausea (whether it be the squashed frogs, the OB sausage and chips, or just realising the seven you got with is actually a two…). But it doesn’t matter because, come next week, you know you’ll do it all again.