The other morning I woke up from a drunken stupor and grasped at my phone, and in my usual fashion I went to Facebook, tried to string together a good morning message to my girlfriend and started scrolling. Then I saw it. A post on The Dungeon Club Southampton’s page saying that finally, after many years it was closing – truly the end of an era.
The second year of my time at university was defined by how I spent my Wednesdays, referred to as “wavy Wednesdays” by myself and the lads. Wednesdays would generally entail a couple of drinks at a friend’s, a colossal piss up of £1.20 doubles at the dungeon and then end with us all shambling into The Edge (Southampton’s premier gay club) at around 1am to lose our student loans and sip on more double vodkas. We would usually magically appear in our beds, hungover having missed all our lectures at about 1pm the day after.
Dungeon was the most important element of these Wednesdays, even though we would sometimes go to a friend’s place first for a beer or 2 it would usually be cheaper to go to dungeon to pre-drink. With freely flowing £1.20 double vodkas and not having to spend any entry, if you got there early enough even the poorest could get truly trashed. Hilarious side effects of this included people getting asked to leave for being too mashed then trying to climb the wall to get back in again, falling down the metal stairs and becoming covered in bruises, pissing all over the walls and ceiling of the cubicles and losing the ability to talk whilst attempting to chirpse the honeys.
Dungeon itself was an interesting bar, partially re-branded and refurbished after my first year where it picked up the name Excali-bar as well. Excali-bar was the medieval themed upstairs pub/bar and the underdeveloped cellar nightclub was The Dungeon, however it didn’t matter what they called it because it was still Dungeon or “dinge” that everyone knew it by, not necessarily because it was dingy but more because of it’s strange mismatched tone.
The clientele that Dungeon brought in was the antithesis of unique. Whilst there was a smaller collection of somewhat more conventional locals who knew the owner, the younger locals who wanted a couple of drinks and a few games of pool, the roster got weirder as the night went on. Small clusters of University of Southampton freshers on a bar crawl who were either dressed like extras from The Little Mermaid or golfers on acid, some goths discussing their latest fetlife escapades, the Solent Uni metalheads talking shit about Panic! at the Disco, the group of #lads who were there probably by accident, and finally the geeky types that found solace in the fantasy-esque décor and cheap drink.
These demographics perfectly reflected on the bar itself with its bipolar Wednesday playlists where anything went, you’d get Scooter followed up by Flo Rida at about the 10pm mark and then as the night went on it would devolve into a clash between chart songs that were cool when I was moving into sixth form 4 years prior, and a revival of the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack. From time to time we would attempt to slip the DJ recommendations and on one particular night we managed to persuade about 30 people to request Kenny Loggins – ‘Danger Zone’, and while we didn’t get to hear it that night, a month later they relaunched their Friday night event under the title ‘Danger Zone’, which left us all with a smug sense of accomplishment knowing that Sterling Archer would be proud.
(the dungeon weekly banger)
Dungeon was a special place to all of us. It was a place where we made friends, lost evenings and most of all enjoyed ourselves and with it now closed there is a hole in the heart of Southampton. There is no longer a relaxed place to enjoy 60p drinks, just the depressing mission that is Jesters and there is no longer a place for the freaks and geeks of Southampton to call home every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Dinge, you shall be missed!
Hugo King Irwin