Former Scunthorpe nightclub operator John Hayes takes on new role in town's leisure industry

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 15 Apr 2019

A well-known former Scunthorpe nightclub operator has returned to the town's leisure sector as chairman of the company which recently brought a local bowling alley out of administration.

John Hayes was the man behind Club 2000, Garbo's and Bamboogy in the town centre, familiar with generations of revellers.

Now, the Belton-based entrepreneur has been made chairman of Disco Bars Limited, which took over the Scunthorpe Bowl and others around the country after MFA Bowl UK went into administration in February.

Mr Hayes has more than 40 years' experience in the local and national hospitality and leisure industry.

He became the only independent operator in the country to twice chair national nightclub body the Bar Entertainment and Disco Association (Beda) before leading it into an amalgamation with the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).  It has now become UK Hospitality, the country's largest trade association representing more than 70,000 venues including hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs.

While chairman of Beda, Mr Hayes was an opponent of the 2003 Licensing Act, saying a 24-hour drinking and al-fresco society would eventually ruin town centres such as Scunthorpe's.

The Scunthorpe Bowl on Warren Road was bought by Disco Bars Limited after MFA Bowl UK went into administration (Image: David Haber/Scunthorpe Live)

But on starting his new role, he said: "Despite what the 2003 Licencing Act has done to the town, I am delighted to be back as the chairman of Disco Bars Limited, which has just brought MFA Bowl (UK) out of administration which includes the Warren Road, Scunthorpe business.

"We are looking forward to working with the very loyal staff and customers at the unit and investing lots of time and money in making Scunthorpe Bowl an exciting place for people to visit and enjoy."

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Mr Hayes started his career in the leisure industry as a mobile DJ in the early 1970s, before opening his first disco, Fagans, at the Cocked Hat pub on Ferry Road with his then-business partner, Paul Thompson.

In 1981, the pair opened the long-running High Street nightclub, Garbo's and at the start of the new millennium, Mr Hayes created the town's first purpose built fully air-conditioned nightclub, Club 2000, spending more than £1.5 million on the facility in Church Square.

John Hayes, pictured outside the former Club 2000 in Scunthorpe in 2006 (Image: Scunthorpe Live)

He then joined long-time nightclub colleague Nigel Blair, the chief executive of Bamboogy Bars Limited in 2008, to become a director and chairman of the group which had late-night bars in Wigan, Bolton, Oldham and Halifax. 

The Garbo's nightclub was incorporated into the Bamboogy chain in 2011.

Disco Bars Limited, which also runs nightclubs in Manchester, the North West and the Midlands, became the third largest bowling alley operator in the country when it bought centres formerly operated by MFA Bowl in Nottingham, Southend, Weymouth, Chatham, Lewisham, Nuneaton, Sunderland and Scunthorpe.

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