Blackpool’s latest late-night venue opened its door last night for the first of four VIP sessions this weekend.
The strictly over-25s Frankie’s Lounge is housed underneath Ma Kelly’s Station Showbar on Talbot Road in the former Downtown Bar.
The venue will be open every Thursday to Sunday night, from 9pm to 3am, and features swing, jazz and cabaret entertainment from a trio of performers and resident pianist, who venue owner Paul Kelly has flown in from across Europe.
Frankie’s Lounge will be members only (cards are available from tonight and be strictly over-25s).
“We have got a dress to impress door policy and are after a market which I don’t think is being catered for anywhere else in Blackpool,” says manager Mick Sugden. “The emphasis is more on it being a wine and champagne bar – there won’t be any cheap drink deals – it will be somewhere people can escape from the usual pub and club scene in.
With 25 chandeliers and furniture imported from Milan, Paul Kelly says he is aiming at attract hoteliers and other entertainers who would normally be stuck for somewhere to go.
“It’s something I have always wanted to run because there is nowhere else like it in Blackpool,” he said. “There’s no DJ and plenty of seated areas for people to relax.”
Providing Frank Sinatra material, Rat Pack tributes and other swing music will be Ray King, who Paul snapped up after first seeing him in Cyprus after he was recommended by a friend.
“I’ve been doing my Sinatra for 25 years and have played one or two places in Blackpool before but I’m really looking forward to this new place,” he said. “It reminds me of a club in the East End of London 30 years ago, where I saw a performer called Michael Brown perform his Sinatra tribute, which inspired me to do the same.”
The other resident entertainers – Phil Gibson and Kenny G (who also perform together as the Boston Brothers) – were head-hunted by Paul in Tenerife.
PhiI has been in the business for 35 years and worked with the likes of Mary Wells and The Weathergirls, as well as performing in Drifters groups for 20 years.
“I’ve done a couple of Blackpool places before but never anywhere like this,” he said.
New Yorker Kenny said he’d got over the “culture shock” of Blackpool and now loved the place.
“It’s like stepping back a few years and picking up where Ieft off but it’s a treasure of a job and Iove the vibes of the place.”