Phil's back in the hot seat at Moles
The former owner of Bath's best-known nightclub is back in charge – with plans to reclaim its independent soul.
Entrepreneur Phil Andrews has set up a 50/50 partnership with long-term Moles promoter and DJ Tom Maddicott to run the George Street venue.
Mr Andrews – who also owns the Chapel Arts Centre and the Porter pub, and is co-director of the Jane Austen Centre – sold the nightclub business three years ago after owning it since the late 1970s.
Now he has taken the lease back on the venue which hosted bands such as Oasis, Radiohead, Supergrass and the Manic Street Preachers on their road to stardom.
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Work is about to start on alterations to the ground floor, moving the bar and creating a more chilled-out DJ area.
Mr Maddicott, who has been involved with the club for 20 years and launched its Tuesday night 'cheese' night, said his new role was hard work.
"I always knew it was going to be, but I have got so much passion for this place."
He added: "We're getting messages from people saying 'Moles is back' and people are pleased that Moles is going back to its glory days. It's an iconic venue and a lot of people want the place to work. It's been quite touching."
The venue has a capacity of 375 but he said it was attracting bands and DJs that normally played in front of as many as 1,500 people.
The venue, which employs 18 people and has its own recording studio, aims to target an audience which is less interested in commercial chart music, catering for indie, house, and drum and bass fans.
Mr Maddicott said: "Our average punter is someone who likes good music."
Mr Andrews added: "We want local people and students to socialise together."
He said: "I'm still there in the background. It's great that I can have involvement without hassle."
The club had been run by ATR Venues until Mr Andrews took back the lease, and stayed open throughout the changeover process.