What do we want from a night out (at 40)?

Twenty-something’s two-step aside, there’s a new group on the town.

For many, the cosy embrace of adulthood spells the end of a hedonistic youth. Boozy late nights make way for early mornings, career responsibilities and mortgage repayments. But now, a new (old!) generation are dusting down their dancing shoes for a second adolescence on the tiles.

A recent survey conducted by The Night Owl, an independent nightclub renowned for its soul and retro music, found out that over 63% would want to ‘playback’ a night out from their younger days while over 30% still regularly go on a night out once a month.

In contrast, a sample of people in their twenties showed that 52.7% view nightclubbing as a regular free time activity with the average closing time for UK nightclubs being 3am. Some venues even stray past 5am and beyond.

This new data joins a national discussion about the place for over-40s on the dancefloor. One of the nation’s most loved DJs, Annie Mac made headlines recently by launching a club night for ‘Cinderella’s’ opening at 7pm and ending at midnight.

Late night venues across the country are shifting the time parameters and tweaking their offerings to accommodate an older audience.

One such nightlife proprietor is Arith Liyanage, CEO and founder of The Night Owl. He said: “I think the increasing demand for over-40s clubbing is not so much a nostalgic turning back of time but more a joyous celebration of their middle years.

“People are living longer, generally in better health and, by middle age, often see a relaxation in parental responsibilities. Added to that, the age group often has more disposable income than other sections of society and we can understand the rise in the over-40s club night.

“Generationally, this age group came of age in the heady dancefloor days of the 1990s and early noughties. Think dance music, package holidays to the Balearics and techno super clubs. At the Night Owl, we still spin original vinyl, and this helps customers looking to rediscover that buzz in later life.”

With this in mind, The Night Owl have compiled the ultimate guide to late nights out over 40. From what to drink, what to wear and where to be seen, cheers to not looking like Michael Gove on a bender!

The Tracks of my Years

Whilst we aren’t all blessed with the God-like staying power of Mick Jagger, over-40s revellers still love strutting their stuff. Data shows pop music remains their preferred pick with over 50% of the vote, while indie, funk and soul nights and electronic / house events also charted strongly.

Arith continued: “It’s clear that the older audience still possess eclectic tastes. Whereas club-going in your younger years may be more tribal depending on musical preferences, older clubbers can be less judgemental. It’s about cutting loose and having fun in an unpretentious environment. However here at the Night Owl we focus on the ‘cooler’ end of the market! Strictly cool retro sounds only.

“They’re growing old gracefully whilst keeping their spirits young.”

Fine wine?

The survey also tracked the user’s drinking tastes. Beer came out on top with 30% of the vote while wine also clocked a healthy 25% with spirits 11% and cocktails 5%. It’s clear that preferences may be more gendered than their younger counterparts, growing up in the days of ‘Big Alcohol.’

Arith added: “Older drinkers may be more established in their tastes, but like younger people they are still open to a novel experience. At our venues, we cater for all tastes and offer themed drinks and specials aligned with modern social media sensibilities.”

A Cinderella Story..

Whilst the suction valve may still be firing, most participants agreed that the most suitable time to end the night is on or before midnight. Some 45% of people were calling last orders at 11pm with 29% hailing a cab for midnight.

Arith concluded: “Venues now need to offer visitors the best of both worlds. So, at the Night Owl  we put on live music from 8-11pm. Then the venue becomes a club night through to the earlier hours.”

There we have it, a few hours reckless abandon but early enough for those who wish to remain sharp and productive the next day, plus the option to stay on later for those in need of a dancing fix.