Restaurant renovation at former Franks nightclub in Cliftonville now complete

The former Franks nightclub Photo Frank Leppard

The former Franks nightclub building in Cliftonville has now been renovated and is on the property market.

The ground floor is being offered for £35,000 per annum through Clarke & Crittenden and also My4Walls at £4166pcm.

Last Summer Thanet council granted permission to convert the site to a restaurant, offices and a three-bed self-contained flat.

The one-time clubbing nightspot in Ethelbert Crescent, was previously run by the Thorley empire before closing in 2009 and being sold. It was once a popular spot with two for one offers, ladies nights and under 18s events.

Photo Frank Leppard

It is part of the Cliftonville Leisure Complex, which also contains Bugsys Bowling, Cains Amusements, Olympia Cafe, and 12 existing 2-bedroom flats known as Cliftonville Court.

Photo Frank Leppard

The rest of the site is active, with the existing commercial units well-used, and the flats inhabited.

Photo Frank Leppard

The  work has included elements to bring the site back to the original 1960s design, with some alterations, featuring the corner balcony and pop-out bay.

Photo Frank Leppard

A rich history

The 1960s building was built on the site of the grand Cliftonville Hotel. The main hotel building was six storeys, including a basement storey and an attic storey. The area behind the hotel, sandwiched between Dalby Square and Edgar Road, was used as gardens. At the front, facing the sea, a grand covered terrace spilled out onto the street.

The hotel had enjoyed great success from its opening in 1868 up until the 1920s.

In 1929, it was no longer as popular and the council considered buying it for municipal offices. The hotel’s popularity diminished further during the Depression and the building was requisitioned during the Second World War.

At the end of the war the hotel reopened but to little success. It was sold to a new owner and turned into flats, though it was still not profitable.

All change after fire

After a fire in 1952, the building was demolished and the site used as a car park until 1961.

In November 1961 plans were announced plans for an eight-storey building on the site, including a new hotel, 40 flats, a cafe, filling station, car park and bowling alley. What was actually built and opened in 1964 was more modest than the early plans, with 12 flats. The bowling alley, Franks pub/nightclub, car park and filling station were also built.

The filling station became a cafe and amusement arcade in the 1980s and the nightclub closed in 2008/09 and now stands empty. The bowling alley is still running though has changed hands several times, and reduced in size from 24 lanes to 12 lanes.

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