Preston comedy club set for grand reopening after a month of closure due to 'pingdemic'

The ROFL comedy club that was forced to close its doors for a month due to increasing numbers of staff members being 'pinged' by Track and Trace is gearing up for its reopening weekend.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 3:45 pm

Crowds will be welcomed back into the Guildhall Street venue from Friday, August 27, for the first time since the end of July.

The comedy club, which is Preston' s only full time dedicated comedy venue, had only been open for six weeks but was forced to postpone all performances after six staff members were told to isolate by the NHS Track and Trace app.

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The venue is set to reopen this weekend after a month of closure

The three-story building will reopen in phases across the coming weeks, starting with ROFL comedy club on the top floor this weekend, followed by Phileas Fogg's restaurant the following week and then the Live Lounge late-night bar after that.

Former boxer and owner Lee Jones, who set up the ROFL comedy club after beating cancer, made the difficult decision to close, hire new members of bar staff and give the venue a deep clean ahead of its reopening.

Ahead of the reopening night this Friday, Lee said: "I am excited about the Preston venue because it is the only full-time comedy club of its kind without people having to spend money to travel to Blackpool or Manchester to see top-class comedians.

"It is no secret that we have been unlucky with the Preston venue so far. We took the building on in August and was set to open last October, but couldn't because Preston went into tier three restrictions.

The comedy club has opened on the top floor of the old Five's restaurant

"Then we had only been open a few weeks when we had to close because so many of our staff were being told to isolate and it would have been impossible to open.

"This will now be our official opening, for the comedy club this weekend, followed by the restaurant and the bar. We have had to prepare and it has been difficult because many of our university staff won't be coming back.

"But we have spent so long preparing for this, we have a new staff team and a new manager and will continuing to recruit new members of staff."

The ROFL club has taken over the top floor of the old Fives Bar and Grill building, on Guildhall street, and is set to bring three headline acts to the city every weekend in an exciting new comedy night.

The live lounge late night bar will be the last to reopen in three weeks time

Despite being a 'huge success' in the first six weeks after it opened in May, hosting weekly comedy nights, live music and a cocktail bar, the doors closed for a month after six members of staff were forced into isolation.

But owner Lee believes that the Preston venue will now be a success once the doors finally reopen this Friday, August 27.

He added: "All we need to do is get somebody through the door once and they will keep coming back, they will love it. Every act on our stage is a full-time professional headline comedian.

"Our lineups are just as good as any other comedy club in the country and will be home to some of the best acts on the scene. We are in a great location and are affordable for people locally and are bringing something new that Preston hasn't seen before.

"I am confident it will be a real success. It is the city's only dedicated comedy venue and the building is iconic and absolutely beautiful. It is ideal for people who just want a good night out with family and friends."

Find out more information about the opening event at the ROFL Facebook page.

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