Tiger Tiger’s final roar

By - Friday 8th January, 2016

Lauren Furey says bye to the Tiger, the nightclub described as ‘a Croydon landmark’

When I was asked to write about the imminent closure of Croydon’s nightclub Tiger Tiger, my initial thought was that I would have nothing particularly glowing to say about the place. But, thinking about it, Tiger Tiger shutting its doors may hint at a wider problem in Croydon.

Croydon’s nightlife has been dying for years. It’s undeniable. There was a time when the closure of one club meant the opening of a new venue but that’s no longer the case. Many of the town centre’s abandoned fronts are former bars and clubs and they stand still, quiet, lifeless as the rest of Croydon grows around it.

I’ve touched on this subject before. It’s something that I care about because I can remember a time when people actually cared about spending their Friday and Saturday nights in Croydon. I remember when it was worth getting the squad together, when the bars were packed and the atmosphere was alive. It’s a distant memory now, faded and tainted with modern mishaps and slurries of bad news. We’ve lost some cultural local landmarks over the years and what was once the lively strip of central Croydon is nothing but a murmur.

The place was Marmite: you loved it or you hated it

In all honesty, I won’t be affected by Tiger Tiger’s closure. For me, it came to be a by-product of what was wrong with Croydon. It was the comical link to everything that’s considered tiresome in this town and that is most likely what’s contributed to its downfall. It wasn’t completely awful but it wasn’t exactly good either. The number of attendees has seriously dwindled over the years and it’s not surprising. In an era where London’s nightlife appetites are shifting towards the more varied and unique, Tiger sat there, stoic, refusing to evolve.

Croydon’s social media outpourings are completely divided. Some are devastated at the news that Tiger Tiger is leaving us and others are elated. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. The place was Marmite: you loved it or hated it.

Josh Currey, the senior sales rep at Tiger Tiger HQ, said that the venue’s closure had been “a long time coming” and that “Croydon’s footfall has gone down a lot”. Council leader, Tony Newman, remarked that the club’s closure was “symbolic of a Croydon that’s changing” in favour of a more “family friendly” town centre.

Every club that’s closed in Croydon has left a shell

Now, I’m on the side of change: not of discarding everything, but I believe that resisting change shows an unwillingness to improve and to better ourselves. In all honesty, we’d be lying to ourselves if we said that Croydon didn’t need some remodelling. The issue that I take with Mr Newman’s comment is that he appears to overlook the fact that Croydon is part of a wider city. Just like other towns within London with a healthy approach to nightlife, it needs a better social scene. Every club that’s closed its doors in Croydon has left a hollow shell of what once was. Some venues have changed hands and names but the ones that have closed have not been replaced.

My concern for the future of Croydon is that having a selection of varied, entertaining and quality venues to spend a night in is just not on the agenda. That’s not to say that we don’t have a couple of great places in town (we do) but considering the population of Croydon and how busy the town used to be, it’s not looking great right now.

Councillor Newman insists that it’s not the end of Croydon’s nightlife and that there is a future for clubs in the town, but I just don’t see it. The decline continues and I’m not holding my breath for positive change in this region anytime soon. So as much as I won’t actually miss Tiger Tiger, I do miss Croydon’s social scene and the options that were available to us and I hope, maybe naïvely, that things will pick up as Croydon itself continues to evolve.

Lauren Furey

Lauren Furey

I was born in Croydon in 1988 and I've spent my life here, building friendships and experiences that have shaped me as a person. As a Croydon native, I have a big passion for local events, arts, history and culture... and the dearly departed Mexway. I now work as a freelance writer.

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  • IAmCroyds

    A final roar or a quiet whimper as it staggers into the bushes. I think the American dentist pulled the trigger on this big cat long ago.

    Is it a loss to Croydon? Probably not, otherwise it would still have customers. The generation that used to fill the clubs Tiger, Walkabout, Blue Orchid et al have grown up and moved on. The crowd that came behind aren’t as fixed on breaking up their night by moving to a “club”, having to meet the dress code and pay to get in.

    We still need an evening social scene in the town but it doesn’t have to be a sea of booze, fights and vomit.

    It’s hard to see where it will come from in the present climate. The demographic of Croydon is shifting. Opening any nightlife venue is expensive, hard work and a huge gamble. I wouldn’t put my money into one, would you?

    • Anne Giles

      An evening social scene does not have to be a sea of booze, fights and vomit. You are so right there. I was brought up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we danced till 3 or 4 in the morning, but there were no fights or vomit, just nice young men and ladies sitting at tables. No crowds standing at the bar and no drunks.

      • NeilB

        Nice phrase “booze, fights and vomit”. I’m hoping the closure of places like this will improve Croydon’s image, though depends on what replaces it.