Those of us who worked on the Tuxedo Royale will never forget the vibrant atmosphere she created, and the absolute pride we all felt as part of the “crew” of this unique venue.
I first started my Career with European Leisure PLC back 1989 as a glass collector. The venue I worked at was the TUXEDO ROYALE a fantastic roll on – roll off ferry converted into a nightclub. It was owned by European Leisure until 1992, but after many legal wrangling was sold back to the former owners. During the two and a bit years – what a great family atmosphere this unique venue had. The vessel had 7 rooms that catered for the then Newcastle’s & The North East’s more higher end crowd.
My very first task on my starting night was to provide all the chauffeur drivers in the car park with coffee & tea.
The rooms consisted of the main room, ‘Club Europa’ – a mainstream chart room with that incredible and infamous revolving dance floor, the cause of much amusement watching the unsuspecting guests losing their bearings. On this level there were two function rooms; the Admiral & Commodore Suites, which were used most weekends. These rooms were very versatile and used for everything from weddings to fashion shows to corporate meeting & showcases.
The next level up hosted three more rooms. ‘Stowaways’ – a soul and disco room, and ‘Trader Jacks’ the party room, that sold ‘Hot Roast Beef’sandwiches at midnight.
On the other side of the reception area on this level was the Italian/Al a carte, which attracted many celebs in its time; Kevin Costner, Brian Adams, Take That, a range of Soap Celebs (not paid PA’s) and Sportsmen & women. And of course Gazza!
The next level housed the Sunset Bar. A nice chilled and professional cocktail bar, with no pints allowed! This room was led by the 2 musicians ‘2 in a Bag’, who played live jazz and easy listening music. This room was also access the deck that went around the whole ship, the ‘sights’ of Tyneside could be seen at any time. (Sights – mainly frolicking in all the nooks and crannies). Later we developed the next level into a BBQ and open air bar for summer and was opened by Viv Richards.
For such a big venue the team of 45+ were a close team and fond memories. We had parties and “get togethers” most weekends and the staff nights every Sunday in the likes of Central Park, part of the old Studio & Ritzy or even the Oxford Ballroom building, TUX 2 and the then then vibrant Bigg Market. Many stories will be in all the teams heads as most look back with fondness at this amazing place to work.
Deliveries dictated by the tide. Alan painting the boat from Bow to stern & back again. Stock & Kegs falling into the Tyne, Risqué goings on in the Bridge & old cabins and depths of the boat, the odd suicide into the car park, The constant 5 degree list, the 18 fire engines that had to come to the venue each time the alarm went off – all just a few great memories of the venue.
The Boat, had a poor end, becoming an eyesore and ‘rustbucket’ on the Tyne. It moved to Middlesborugh, traded for a bit and then ,well – just left for thieves to steal whatever is sale-able, consequently the boat is now a mess. Luckily there is one chap prepared to take the vessel and repair it and even make it seaworthy again. Good Luck with that.
Now there were two boats on the Tyne in the later 90’s The Princess took the spot the Royale throughout the earlier years – and then the Princess again.
Many debates about which was best, I only know my great time I had from 89 to 92 on that famous boat on the Tyne –
Gone??? – But Never Forgotten
Watch out for some stories coming soon.
Image of Tuxedo Royale from gazettelive.co.uk – where there are lots more “Tuxedo” images.