THE clubbing scene has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades and the County Gazette takes a trip down memory lane to look at Taunton’s former late-night venues.

Venues such as Kingston’s, the former Rileys snooker club, Night Owls at Creech Castle, Yates, which is now a Tesco Express in High Street, and Rockers Live in Bridge Street, have all fallen victim to the town’s clubbing demise.

The latest victim is Bliss on East Street, leaving Taunton with only a handful of late night venues – including Okoko, Mambo, Remedies and the Market House.

Other venues to close over the years are the Ivory Club in Mary Street, The Toad at the Warehouse and Que Pasa which was situated next to Hatchers in High Street and Aura in Church Square.

Kevin Sturmey, who used to run Sturm’s Sport Bar in Hammett Street until it closed in 2008, said there used to be 5,000 people clubbing in Taunton on a Saturday night.

He added: “Taunton is never going to be a Birmingham or a Bristol because it is hard to compete with those places and the big operators that have so much buying power.”

According to a new poll, pubs in the South-West will be among the worst affected by minimum pricing for alcohol.

Figures released by YouGov claim that a 45p minimum price per unit will turn people away from pubs and nightclubs and 46% of more than 1,200 people polled said they will drink less in the pub.

Andy Sharman, of Somerset West Businesses Against Crime, said the last few years have been a challenging time for pubs and clubs.

He added: “It is hard to compete against the supermarkets and the cheap alcohol they can sell. The nightlife in Taunton is not what it was but it still has something to offer and the pubs and clubs are working hard to bring people back in and make it exciting.

“Businesses need to look at the experience they can offer customers and a lot of places are putting on live music. People do not have much money to spend now so you need to give them a reason to come out.”