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ONE would swear the nightclub business in Bulawayo is a guaranteed road to success and cast iron profit-making judging by the number of new joints sprouting across the city as the festive season draws near.
The economic hardships are seriously biting the business sector. Downsizing or complete closure is the order of the day for most businesses in the city.
But the script reads completely different in the entertainment industry.
A snap survey by B-Metro entertainment reporters paints a picture of a booming entertainment industry if the number of new nightclubs in the city is anything to go by.
Busters Sports Club — synonymous with club rugby in Bulawayo — is now home to a new joint called the Smoke House. As is the norm with local club revellers, the new joint is attracting significant numbers of nightclub party-goers who crave for something ‘‘new’’ and a different atmosphere after hours.
The euphoria that gripped Bulawayo when the first-ever strip club — Private Lounge — opened its doors in 2016 is long gone, the same way fog disappears when the sun rises. The half-naked dancers, poles, stage, lighting, sound system are gone.
“The strip club has lost its spark. People don’t come here often and you find the dancers doing nothing because there is no tipping crowd,” said a regular there.
The same space now houses Zanzibar, an upmarket joint that caters for high end clients with deep pockets.
Call it ingenuity on the part of the Private Lounge owners to move the strip club to a different location at the entertainment centre at Cecil Hotel or adjusting to the prevailing situation in the local nightclub scene that calls for constant revamping, Zanzibar is slowly commanding a loyal clientele base.
The new nightclubs are, of course, not operating in a vacuum or a virgin market space.
The old joints, talk of Cosmopolitan Club, Cubana, Lagondola and relatively new Zarah and Crystal, are not taking the competition lying down.
“The problem these clubs will have is that they are competing for the same market. Those that go to Zarah are the same people that go to Cubana. They are the same people again that go to BAC so it’s tricky. BAC is situated halfway to arguably the biggest nightclub Cosmopolitan, since BAC recently opened, it is blocking traffic that traditionally goes to Cosmopolitan,” said Ricky Ncube, a reveller.
A new kid on the block called Signature Bar is already making noise in the local nightclub circles with pictures awash on social media on its imminent grand opening before December.
Another joint named The Vibe opened its doors to the public amid an acute beer shortage and sudden increase in the prices of alcohol. The Vibe is battling penetrating the market as well as proving to nightclub revellers that it is the new joint of choice in Bulawayo.