30-something Dub calls for decent nights out in city for older clubbers

By Jennifer Betts

Tonight I’m gonna party like its 1999, for I’ll be 18 ’til I die. Okay, enough with the song references (thanks Prince and Bryan) but seriously, where to party?

You might suggest a barrage of hotspots in and around Dublin, but my inner Goldilocks feels that they’re just not quite right.

When Prince’s iconic song eventually reached 1999, I was the ripe young age of 18. Ah 18, back when I knew everything and nothing.  My make-up was applied with a trowel and my fashion sense could catch the attention of Zach in Saved by the Bell.  Back where, in my opinion, stonewash should have stayed.

But boy did I know how to paint the tiles, in fact, I still do.  There’s just one small problem – add on 20 years and the choices are slim pickings. Partying isn’t all about the booze anymore. I still like a cocktail or 12, but what I really miss, what I lived for each weekend, was the boogie.

Dancing for hours on end. That was the kind of night when you came home a few pounds lighter. You had the feeling of exhilarated exhaustion, knowing you got the best value for money that your night of innocent, sweat induced fun could offer.  It was the sense of release that your overworked mind needed.

30-something Jennifer Betts says where are the nightspots for older clubbers?
30-something Jennifer Betts says where are the nightspots for older clubbers?

Nights like that, sadly, if you’re not 18, become less frequent with age and unfortunately you’re reliant on your friend, auntie, cousin to have a birthday party or wedding. It’s sad, but it doesn’t have to be and while Dublin is still my first love when it comes to cities, it fails us 30 to 40 somethings in providing us with that all important night to remember.

Having lived in the UK in my twenties for a short period, I witnessed what is now common practise here on the Emerald Isle. Cue drinks promotions, board games, whacky theme nights and even dog friendly establishments.

We’re catching on, finally, but we’ve still got a long way to go. I have returned to the UK every year for the past 15 years and although I appreciate that we are small in comparison, there’s simply a lot more options in our neighbouring kingdom.

In Dublin there are two options, hang out in a pub or club with great music, where you look like the revellers Ma’s, or opt for door number two, where the revellers are your Ma. It seems there is no in between. It’s unfair and frustrating.

I can make my peace with getting older and I’d rather not embarrass myself attempting a dance off with the fresh faced hipsters that, let’s face it, look much better in a pair of white jeans than I do.

They should have their fun as I did, without patronising looks of aw aren’t you sweet? I honestly look at teens like I do puppies, I can’t help it and I do apologise.

Really this shouldn't be the last dance at 30 something or 40 something or hey, for any age, should it?
Really this shouldn’t be the last dance at 30 something or 40 something or hey, for any age, should it?

Then there’s the end of night, where do we go now kind of option. The other end of the scale where we’re too damn young for the late night clubs and are hindering the hopes of the 60 plus woman who fancies her chances with 60 or 70 plus year old man.

I say hinder, because for some odd reason both think we’re interested in the latter. Hey, I just came here to dance and before you say salsa classes, no, just don’t.

If I may say so myself, I can still move, but if there was ever a market for a bop somewhere between Neil Diamond and Childish Gambino (I’ll admit I had to pick my 20 year old nephew’s brain for that one, thank you Adam) then please, point me to the dance floor!

I must’ve inherited this need to body rock from my mother, who at 70, makes it her business to acquaint herself with the DJ at every party.

I just love his face when he suggests the Supremes to her, only to be told no, the Black Eyed Peas please.

I think any music is ageless. I don’t need to hear I Will Survive for the umpteenth time, I’ll happily dance to Justin without the tag of Belieber. He makes some really good music. Don’t forget, I’m a teen of the 90’s, so chances are I’ll wipe the floor with you and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

On a recent trip to Glasgow for my friend’s 40th, I was relieved to hear all my favourite RnB hits in a club with a decent amount of grown-ups and I honestly think I left my body at one point.

No, it wasn’t the Prosecco, I was just so bloody happy. My friend said that I had this serene look on my face. Again, not the Prosecco. I just love to dance. It’s escapism in the purest form. After a week of dog – walking, working, cooking, cleaning and wearing flats, I think I deserve to throw on my uncomfortable heels and cause murder on the dance floor.

But is it too much to ask that I be in the company of people my own age? I shouldn’t have to create a playlist with my friends at home to treat myself to some decent tunes.

So Dublin, I implore you, us middle aged young ones aren’t dead yet, show me a good time.  I’lll accept the blisters on my feet, the strange looks when my hair sticks to my face, or when I completely lose the plot when Maniac comes on, but we just can’t go quietly into the night anymore.

It’s not too late to say sorrrryyy. And if my mother is anything to go by, then we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, so join me all you disco divas, because Mama got you.

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