Worthing nightclub to be taken over by owner of popular bar

Worthing’s main nightclub is being taken over by the man behind one of the town’s most popular new bars.

Alex Elsden-Smith and Ben Thompson. Picture: Derek Martin
Alex Elsden-Smith and Ben Thompson. Picture: Derek Martin

Ben Thompson, who runs Manuka in Portland Road, Worthing, said he will take over Liquid in Chatsworth Road at the end of October with business partner Alex Elsden-Smith, who brought his expertise from the Be At One cocktail bar chain.

The 28-year-old from Worthing, who is the drummer for chart-topping band Two Door Cinema Club, planned to use his industry connections to attract high-profile DJs and bands to perform there.

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His vision was an ‘electric state-of-the-art nightclub’ like Worthing had not seen, he said: “Worthing needs a venue for people aged 21 upwards to go to that offers them a level of entertainment that has not been brought here before.”

Alex Elsden-Smith and Ben Thompson. Picture: Derek Martin

He said discussions began with Liquid’s current owners Barry Wells and Peter Mott a month ago. What sealed the deal was how he had made Manuka a success, Ben said.

With his childhood friend Zach Bimson, Ben opened the bar in what was the Silver Mackerel in December 2017.

Before joining his band aged 17, Ben worked as a barista in Cafe Pitti in Montague Street – so he said ‘hospitality is in my blood’.

Ben said they would be bringing in a new manager who had worked in Ballie Ballerson: a nightclub with a ball pit in Hackney.

Inspired by the Hakkasan nightclub in Las Vegas, which Ben had visited while touring the world with his band, they would design their own scent to pump into the air, much like they do at Manuka.

He said they would revamp the interiors to create a space where people would want to take photos with their friends, and feature special effects like confetti and CO2 cannons. He hoped this would be done by December.

The club will be rebranded, and they had a name in mind which they would reveal soon, Ben said.