“Where Ibiza meets Essex” – Iconic Brentwood nightclub the Sugar Hut is under new ownership who are looking to broaden the famous venues appeal, while keeping the elements which made it so well loved in the first place.

The Sugar Hut’s music and events director Dan Perrin says the club’s reopening under new management signals a new era of nightlife for the Essex town and wider area.

The world-renowned club, which reopened on Saturday, November 30, has seen a massive overhaul under the new ownership.

Dan Perrin says he and his team felt it was imperative to remodel the club’s interior as is it had not had a “face lift” for years – opting for what he calls a ‘new luxe’ look.

“I would describe ‘new luxe’ as contemporary but classic English style”, he said. “We have done away with that far-east feeling that it used to have with ten thousand Buddhas all over the place.

“It has a very classic, old English feel to it with lots of floral set pieces to build that kind of stately home feeling which lends quite well to the listed building which has a huge amount of history to it.

“We wanted to bring some of that into the design inspiration to have that classic old English mansion feel to it but with a contemporary twist because as a modern night club.”

“We also wanted it to be the start of a new era and you can’t open as the next generation of the Sugar Hut, open the doors and have it exactly as it was before. So, it was a good watershed moment to drastically update the look and feel of the place to give it a new identity.

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And the most important part of upgrading the Sugar Hut to become a “modern” night club, Dan says, was installing world-class sound and lighting systems to support big name DJs and allow for the club to improve its reputation as a music venue and not only a social hangout spot.

“It was lacking in terms of how we like to run a venue,” Dan, who also helps run ‘Ibiza style mega club’ Studio 338 in Greenwich, explained. “It was lacking in some of the vital infrastructure like a world class sound and like world class lighting infrastructure.

“They were very necessary things for us to put in, we obviously want to bring more of a musical focus to the club than perhaps has been there was before.”

Dan insists he and his team are not here to trash or speak negatively about the Sugar Hut in its previous incarnation but does say he feels the club with was very dimensional – a dimension he wishes to retain and enhance with new elements.

“The previous Sugar Hut was very much about the Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) scene, it was more of a place you would go to dress up and have cocktails and things like that. It still will retain that side of things, its certainly not something that we want to get rid of.

“We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Its great that the place has such an international reputation for TOWIE and being the heart of Essex, so we definitely did not want to lose that and turn the Sugar Hut into some sort of Shoreditch east London type underground music venue.

“The aim in installing great sound systems and lighting is so that we can layer other elements on top of all the stuff that has made Sugar Hut so well loved in the past. Elements such as special guest DJs, more imagination in terms of the line-ups and concepts we are offering to people because the Sugar Hut previously was fairly bog standard.

“No special guest DJs, no particular music concepts, just the same thing every Friday and every Saturday and I think that is a little bit of an old school way of looking at things, I don’t think that’s what people necessarily want anymore. They want something where there excited to see a DJ or where there is a particular kind of night on. They don’t just want to come to a nightclub playing the latest stuff that is on the radio and get drunk and leave, that’s a bit left in the early 90s.”

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However, Dan is keen to not alienate the club’s long-term patrons, and says it will still be, at essence, the same club they grew to love, just improved to reach out to new audiences, while hopefully retaining long-time lovers of the club.

One aspect of achieving this, he says, is by providing a diverse and nuanced music programme, spanning numerous genres, styles, and demographics.

“It’s never going to be, for example, a purely techno night at the Sugar Hut”, Dan explained. “Because that just does not suit the area, it doesn’t suit the image of the place and what people expect from it.

“The idea of having a bit of variety to the programme is that I want everybody to feel welcome and comfortable at the Sugar Hut. I don’t want anybody to feel like it is just the place for 21-year-old club kids but equally I don’t want that demographic to feel like its just a place for mid-thirties nostalgia clubbers.

“In the same way I want people to feel they can come very glammed up and have that side of the experience, I also want people who are very into their music to feel like they have finally got a legitimate night club in their area where they can hear quality music.

“Obviously you can’t please all the people all the time, but we’re lucky enough to have three different rooms and with that there will always be a variety of dance music, generally centred around house, but lots of different shades of house music.”

To help reach out to new demographics, Dan and his team have plans for a variety of weekly events to entice people who might not have been to the Sugar Hut before into the famous club.

“Moving forward, on Fridays we will offer more of a traditional hip-hip RnB night, mixed with some more commercial dance music. The night will be free entry and called Sugar Free Fridays.

“That will be a vehicle for us to explore some quite fun concepts, for example a 90s house party night or house vs garage.

In March the Sugar Hut will launch a “fantastic Thursdays” night to cater to people who are looking to get together with friends in the week, but not get massively drunk and party.

“It will be a variety of things from crazy underground bingo to cult pub quizzes – one of the first we will do is Gavin and Stacey, obviously being in Essex”, says Dan. “We will also have film screenings and cinema clubs and we are going to launch a comedy store later on.”

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More importantly than offering a diverse programme, the club has also installed new gender-neutral power rooms

“We would never ever want to have a situation where people didn’t feel that they were welcome or safe in any of our venues and we’re staunchly in support of LGBT communities”, Dan said.

“We also don’t want people to mistake it poorly as a girls room, anybody is welcome to use it, even though you might have assumed that twenty years ago as its somewhere to make-up on, that’s not the world that we live in anymore.”

With this new holistic programme, and sweeping changes to the interior, Dan recognises his team has taken risks in revamping what was already a much-loved venue that saw visitors from all other the UK, and even the world, swarm to the club every weekend.

“There is a lot of responsibility that comes with taking over somewhere that’s already very popular and well known”, he said.

“One of the things that is a very high priority for us is to not alienate anybody that previously was a regular at the Sugar Hut, we want to make sure there is continuity there, that they only feel that things have improved and they don’t feel they have had the door shut on them because it has changed beyond recognition.”

Despite the wholesale changes, Dan recognises the listed buildings limitations on comparison to other venues.

“We certainly can’t do some of the things we do at Studio 338 but we are lending some of our experience, knowledge and creativity from that and layering that on top of what has previously made the Sugar Hut popular.

“Then you are adding something for the people who already love the place and offering something new to the people who maybe did not like the club before. Its about broadening that appeal and that audience, not changing it or shutting the door on anything that has gone before.”

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And Dan says the team have plans to build business links in the community, support the town’s smaller business and boost local prosperity.

“People come from all over the UK and outside of the UK and I think it’s great for Brentwood that it brings people into the area”, Dan said.

“It helps the night-time economy which has a knock-on effect of helping local taxi drivers, local pubs, restaurants, hotels and that is something that we want to increase.

“We want our business to be an asset and a leading light to other smaller businesses in Brentwood.

“We are toying with the idea of working with local hotels to offer a of package for people coming from afar rather than having them stay in London. We would like them to stay in Brentwood because then everyone gains in the area.”

Moving forward, Dan says the club will seek to improve in every way possible to ensure it maintains its position at the pinnacle of Essex nightlife - “We will strive to continuously raise the bar, every night and every week”, he says.