What Is The World’s First Modern Nightclub?

In the world of coloured lighting and shatterproof bulbs, nightclubs are one of the most fascinating locations, as they emphasise the importance of targeted, selective and dynamic lighting to ensure people dance and have a wonderful time.


However, whilst it is easy to think of the nightclub as no more than seven decades old and connected to the discothéque scene, nightclubs have existed for nearly two centuries, even if some in society would rather they did not.


The nightclub scene largely began in New York City in the 1840s as a reaction to the city’s increased status as the capital for entertainment and the growing new industry of tourism trickled down the social classes.


Whilst the grand hotels and theatres were the purview of NYC high society, this left a space for somewhat less respectable acts to appear as well.


The Haymarket and other early establishments became known for live music, vaudeville acts and a lot of dancing in public, but they also happened to turn a blind eye to unlicensed alcohol and gambling, both of which were illegal in the city at the time.


However, in 1886, Webster Hall was constructed as a “social hall” and became a place well known for being the home of the Bohemian movement in New York, which was a movement known at the time for its lavish parties and openly hedonistic attitude.


With a clientele that included famed Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp and author F. Scott Fitzgerald, the wild parties and daring, risque events hosted there granted the club a somewhat infamous name by the magazine The Masses: The Devil’s Playhouse.


It was one of the few major venues that had somehow been unaffected by Prohibition, which according to rumours was due to a connection between the club and infamous mob boss Al Capone.


When Prohibition was repealed, Webster Hall hosted an infamous huge celebration called “The Return of John Barleycorn”.


Now recognised as a New York City landmark, Webster Hall continues to this day to how all kinds of social events and play host to a wide variety of musical acts.

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