FORMER Island nightspots have proved a talking point in our We Grew Up on the Isle of Wight Facebook group recently.

Ruth Thornley posted a photo of The Royal York Hotel in Ryde (main image above) and asked if people remembered the 69 Club there and dozens of people commented that they had their best nights out there ever in the 1960s, 70 and 80s!

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Facebook group members recalled dancing to the Cherokees, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Nice, Moody Blues, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam band, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Gene Vincent and Black Sabbath there, as well as Dave Cannon's popular discos in the 1980s.

Sue Watkins added: "Lulu stayed there when she had just started singing, I have her autograph as my gran was housekeeper there. She would get me all the autographs!"

Isle of Wight County Press: Paddle steamers Ryde Queen (left) and Medway Queen (right) were used for dancing. Picture: IWCP archive.

Paddle steamers Ryde Queen (left) and Medway Queen (right) were used for dancing at The Boat

The Beachcomber Bar at the Shanklin Hotel was another popular nightspot and James O'Grady recently shared some pictures from The Beachcomber when it was run by his mum and dad. Among the attractions were crocodiles in the bar and a light show.

Lots of group members remember going there in the 1960s, 70 and early 80s and remember Stormy the boxer dog, the crocs and cage birds including parrots who swore. There were fond memories of the cocktails too!

Tom Pullin said: "I seem to remember that the crocs got out of their pit one night and gave the bar staff a bit of a shock when they opened up in the morning!"

'The Boat' just outside Newport was also a popular place to go — this was a nightclub in various parts of two paddle steamers at Binfield, the Ryde Queen and Medway Queen.

Both paddle steamers were used to rescue men from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, but in the 1970s and 80s they formed a much talked about nightspot.

Stephen Manners remembers: "Everyone called it The Boat. I spent many drunken nights there in the 1970s with Slade, Mud, Abba and even the Bay City Rollers blasting out. I had a long walk home to sober up and be sick, before trying to creep in without waking the parents up. I'm 61 years old now but I still remember those days! Must have been about 15 then!"

Isle of Wight County Press: The glass dancefloor at the Casa Espanol. Picture: Graham Lee.

The glass dancefloor at the Casa Espanol. Picture: Graham Lee.

Nicholas Trueman remembered the Diamond Club, which opened in the cellar of the Royal Victorian Arcade. He said: "Even Brian Jones came in when the Stones were playing in Ryde in early 1960s — good vibes all round then!"

Others remember The Beehive, which was under the Halland in Seaview, plus Prince Consort in Ryde, La Babalu and Carousel at Westridge, Patsy's, Barney's Roadhouse and Casa Espanol in West Wight, the Eastcliff, Redcliff Bars, Zanies, Court Jester and Colonel Bogeys.