Zen and the art of clubbing
The latest incarnation of the former Empire cinema in Yarmouth is arguably its finest, and now the landmark seafront building is being hailed as yet another symbol of the town's renewal.
It has gone through a number of dramatic overhauls during its colourful history.
But the latest incarnation of the former Empire cinema in Yarmouth is arguably its finest, and now the landmark seafront building is being hailed as yet another symbol of the town's renewal.
Built as a cinema in 1911, the impressive building has been owned by the Jay family since 1937.
But after a spell as a bingo hall, and more recently as the Bourbon Street nightclub, owner Peter Jay decided the venue was ripe for a revamp.
Inspired by the delights of the East, he decided to transform the Empire into an exotic-themed nightclub and set about collecting ornate furnish-ings from far-flung destinations to complete the new look.
And tomorrow, revellers can see the transformation when Zen opens.
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Partygoers will also be able to marvel at a magnificent feature that has been unveiled after more than 20 years.
For above the dance floor is a beautiful Edwardian ceiling complete with an intricate baroque decoration, which had been boarded up until recently.
The club, which can cater for more than 1000 people, has five bars and features an elevated VIP area, with waiter service.
Mr Jay said: "Zen will be very focused, not only on the quality of services but on the quality of its customers, who will have to make an effort in terms of dressing and general behaviour.
"Too many clubs in the area have started well and then rapidly descended to the lowest common denominator. We will not have any cheap gimmicks or drink offers and will certainly not feature strippers.
"The club is further proof of the town's regeneration and we aim to provide a quality nightclub experience."
Mr Jay said that after work began on the project in January, he and his family visited Morocco to select pieces of hand-crafted furniture. Other items have come from places such as Bali, in Indonesia.
He estimated the revamp had cost more than £100,000 but said the venue now boasted some more impressive features.
It contains what is believed to be the biggest Moroccan lamp in Britain, which is 10ft tall and hangs in the entrance, and a massive pull-down television screen.
Zen will be run by Mr Jay's 28-year-old son Ben, who also manages the Ocean Room in Gorleston.
The club will open every day until 2am, apart from Sundays when it will close at 12.30am.
No under-21s will be admitted, and admission to the VIP area is by invitation only.