Celebrities’ favourite club celebrates its 20th birthday

Froml left, DJ Steve Hurrell, and joint directors John Clarke and Tony Bee.

Froml left, DJ Steve Hurrell, and joint directors John Clarke and Tony Bee. - Credit: Archant

A nightclub, synonymous with footballers and reality TV stars, has marked its 20th anniversary by opening a new bar and asking customers to share their memories.

Froml left, DJ Steve Hurrell, and joint directors John Clarke and Tony Bee.

Froml left, DJ Steve Hurrell, and joint directors John Clarke and Tony Bee. - Credit: Archant

Faces in Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, Ilford, was opened in 1993 by owners John Clark, from Hornchurch, and Tony Bee. It has since become one of the most popular clubs in east London.

Faces nightclub pictured a number of years ago.

Faces nightclub pictured a number of years ago. - Credit: Archant

The pair first met more than 30 years ago when they were starting out in the industry and worked at Epping Forest County Club.

It was from there that they decided they had earned their “spurs” and were ready to set up on their own.

Mr Clark said: “I had created the success for other people and I thought ‘why can’t I do this for myself and reap the benefits?’”


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The club, which hosted an anniversary party on May 18, is proud to be one of the few clubs to have maintained the same management team for such a long time.

When the Recorder asked our Facebook readers for opinions on the celeb haunt, Natalie Smith said: “I’ve had some of my best nights out at Faces Nightclub and met some of the best (and not so good!) people there. Not been for a few years now but hope to go again soon.”

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Memories

Sue Cook added: “I practically used to live in Faces on Saturday nights from 1993 to 2000. I had gold membership and had some really fantastic nights in there. I even have a Faces dance mix CD from 1995.

“I’m too old to go in there now but it was a brilliant place. Some really good memories.”

As well as opening its new Masquerade Bar, the club also asked people to post photos and memories they had of the nightspot on Facebook to try to create an online archive which dates back to when the club first opened.

Both Mr Bee and Mr Clark believe the fact they “don’t court the press” and that the club is a safe environment, unlike some of the high-profile clubs in London, is the reason why so many famous faces regularly pass through the doors.

They now have several venues including the nearby 80s-themed bar Visage but it is the success of Faces that gets them recognised all over the world.

Mr Bee added: “John and I were having dinner in Majorca when a couple asked if we were the owners of Faces. They said they’d met each other there and were now on their honeymoon.”

The club has also helped Gants Hill achieve a Purple Flag award for a diverse night-time economy.

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