Glitter balls, retro cocktails and classic pop: The joy of Harrogate’s daytime disco
Last updated Mar 8, 2024
Daytime disco in Harrogate

‘Party like you used to and still be home for Saturday night TV!’ is the strapline for Disco Dayze, a new monthly daytime clubbing event at Montey’s bar in Harrogate. 

It’s an enticing prospect for those of us whose days of cocktails and nightclubs have long since been replaced by cups of tea and the demands of family life.  

The crowd at Saturday’s launch, largely made up of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, certainly seemed to have taken Montey’s at their word. From the get-go, they were there to party. Unperturbed by the prospect of ordering rounds of colourful retro cocktails so early in the afternoon, groups of revellers headed straight for the bar as the lights dimmed, the disco balls and neon signs lit up, and the first pop classics blasted out. 

Harrogate daytime disco

Crowds at the bar.

Daytime discos are a fairly new concept, with recent sell-out events in Sheffield and London starting the trend and proving their appeal. But even Jay Smith, Montey’s owner and a veteran of the Harrogate pub scene, has been surprised by the fervour Disco Dayze has induced.

Tickets for the launch event sold out weeks ago, and The Stray Ferret’s story about it on Facebook was met with more than 350 excited comments. The April event is already a sell-out, with the last few tickets snapped up on Saturday by revellers eager to return. And if you’re after tickets for May, you’d better be quick – 60 per cent of them had gone by the time this article was written. 

So, what’s the appeal? 

Home in time for tea

For the largely female crowd at Saturday’s launch event, Disco Dayze offers everything they love about a great night out with friends – a few drinks, great music and non-stop dancing – while still getting home in time for tea, TV and bedtime as normal. It’s particularly appealing for women with young children who wake up through the night or get up ridiculously early in the morning. 

And then there’s the music. Promising club classics – if the club you’re thinking of is Carrington’s or Jimmy’s in their heyday – DJ Trev’s playlist was a pretty good reflection of the best dancefloor fillers from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. From House of Pain to B*Witched, Stevie Nicks to Whitney, Black Box to Faithless, and the Backstreet Boys to Oasis, every tune was greeted with whoops and cheers. There wasn’t a moment when the dancefloor wasn’t heaving and the atmosphere wasn’t joyous. 

DJ at the daytime disco in Harrogate

DJ Trev.

Credit must also go to Jay Smith and the staff of Montey’s, who had clearly put a lot of thought into recreating the classic nightclub of days gone by. With the aim to make Disco Dayze “feel like an event had come to Montey’s”, the venue’s regular rock vibe had been briefly erased. It was replaced with throwback details such as the retro cocktails and disco balls already mentioned through to a TV screen looping Pretty Woman and Baywatch episodes.

Judging by the huge reaction to Disco Dayze, it would seem that Montey’s has brilliantly tapped into an under-explored market in Harrogate. Its early success should perhaps not be surprising, given the town’s demographic and the huge power that nostalgia holds over consumers of everything from sweets to movies. Jay is already planning to expand the event out of Harrogate, with a date just announced at Viva Blackpool in May. For now, that may be the only way that anyone has a chance of getting a ticket.

Bar staff at the Harrogate daytime disco

Montey’s bar staff at Disco Dayze.

Daytime disco: The verdict from those who were there

Daytime disco in Harrogate

Dawn Bradley and Nicole Lambert.

Dawn Bradley and Nicole Lambert loved the idea of a daytime disco because they’ve got children and “can’t survive a night out any more”.

They were enjoying the music and thought the event had exceeded their expectations. They were having a few drinks and intending to go out for food afterwards. 

Harrogate daytime disco

Stephen Lynes and Claire Sander.

Claire Sander and Stephen Lynes were part of a group of men and women from Harrogate. Claire said they’d bought a ticket because there had been nothing on offer like this before in the town, and it was something different.

They also mentioned children and how it was easier to go out during the day. Claire said:

“The music is our kind of thing with the 80s and 90s tunes. It’s well organised, with a good club atmosphere. It feels more like night time – this place has no windows so it works well, but other venues might not be able to capture that.”

Cocktails at a Harrogate bar

From left, Sarah Fishburn, Kirsty Voce, Kirsteen Dixon, Claire Ward and Donna Sloan with their retro cocktails.

Sarah, Kirsty, Kirsteen, Claire and Donna are work colleagues and friends from Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon who had already had lunch in town before heading to Montey’s.

Most of them are mums to young children and were enjoying being able to go out knowing they’d be back home and in bed at a reasonable time, ready to get up early the next morning. Sarah said:

“We’re loving the 80s and 90s music. It’s a great girls’ afternoon out; a good alternative to a bottomless brunch.”

A group of friends from Harrogate said they were enjoying the atmosphere and the music.

A group of friends from Harrogate said they were enjoying the atmosphere and the music.

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