Seeing as it’s summer and all, we decided to head out of London and away to the seaside for this month’s Meet the Manager. After leaving an indelible mark on the capital’s nightlife over the decades with clubs such as East Bloc and BRUT, Wayne Shires can be found down in Hastings looking after a pair of venues — we fired over some questions.
Hi Wayne, you’ve swapped London for the South Coast – tell us a bit about the bars your run there.
Yeah, I moved to Hastings four years ago and opened The Fountain on Queens. It’s a pub with a late licence at weekends and we have everything from Sunday roasts to drag acts on a Saturday. It’s a great mixed crowd that’s definitely LGBTQ+ inclusive. I also run Trinity Townhouse, which is a late-night bar and club on the seafront that does a mean burger and DJs playing on Fridays and Saturdays.
Is there anything excited you’ve got planned for the summer months?
Well, we’re hosting our third Queer on the Pier on 30th July, which is located on Hastings Pier as you can probably guess. It kicks off at midday and will have a line-up of the most amazing performers. But before that, we have another queer takeover of the pier with Disco Jubilee on the Friday of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. From noon to 10pm, we’ve got Horse Meat Disco, Raf Rundell from 2 Bears and Amyl (which is Ross Jones and Simon M). That’s gonna be a great day and tickets are available from queeronthepier.com.
What’s it been like putting on queer events in a small town?
The local gay community is great and putting on big events brings loads of extra gays to the town. Plus, all my mates come down, so it’s always one big party.
To any Londoners thinking about making a day trip to Hastings, give us a few of your favourite local spots (apart from your own!)
There’s a great local gay bar called Forbidden Fruit on the seafront in St Leonards. If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, Tommys Pizzaria in St Leonards is brilliant and Goat Ledge is a seafood cafe right on the beach that’s lovely in the late afternoon. For cocktails, go to Cactus Hound in St Leonards and for a romantic dinner, I’d have to say Dragon Bar In Hastings Old Town.
What do you miss about London and what do you not?
I left over a year before the pandemic and it feels like a different place to me when I go back to visit. I do miss my family and friends that still live there, but I have to say that I haven’t missed the hustle and bustle of it all.
As it’s Pride month, what are you most proud about from your time in queer nightlife?
That’s a tough one. I can’t really decide between CRASH, East Bloc, and Summer Rites festivals, so I’ll just say all three!
Disco Jubilee, Friday 3rd June, 12pm-10pm
Queer on the Pier, Saturday 30th July, 12pm-10pm
Both on Hastings Pier, TN34 1JY, Nearest Station: Hastings
Get tickets HERE