ONE of the most famous North nightspots is to close on New Year’s Eve.
The Journal can reveal that the Tuxedo Princess, the iconic floating nightclub close to the Tyne Bridge, will close after its Hogmanay party.
Berthed in the city for most of the last 26 years, the boat helped to create Newcastle’s world reputation as a party city.
It is set to move to Ireland in January after plans for a £10m office and restaurant complex between the Swing Bridge and the Tyne Bridge were given the go-ahead.
It was felt that the boat did not fit in with the new developments on the Gateshead Quayside after the regeneration of the area. The club’s owners Absolute Leisure confirmed yesterday that New Year’s Eve would be the last time the club opened.
A spokesman for the company said they were planning to sail the ship away in the spring but had not decided exactly when. The spokesman said: “The Tuxedo Princess has been the North East’s most well-recognised nightclub for around 25 years and is always a talking point when anyone comes to Newcastle, so it’s only fitting it should be sent off in style.” The Tuxedo Princess was built at the Swan Hunter yard in Wallsend. Originally called the Caledonian Princess, she was operated by the seagoing division of British Rail, Sealink, and sailed back and forth across the Irish Sea, linking Britain to Northern Ireland.
The ferry was then gutted and underwent an 18-month refurbishment, creating 12 bars and two discos, with a capacity for 3,000 people.
The Tuxedo Princess, which also became known as The Boat, was first moored on the Newcastle side of the Tyne in 1981, but soon crossed to Hillgate Quay in Gateshead. The boat was a favourite haunt for VIPs and celebrities. Famous people who have partied aboard include band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Noel Edmonds, cricketer Ian Botham, comic Freddie Star and regulars such as Paul Gascoigne and the cast of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Actor Tim Healy met Denise Welch on the boat and later proposed to her there.