Top celebrity club host says ‘era of nightclubs is over’ in Ireland because of Tinder dating | #tinder | #pof


FORMER “King of The Clubs” Robbie Fox has sensationally claimed that nightclubs are over in this country.

And the 64-year-old, who hosted the likes of Julia Roberts, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, U2 and Colin Farrell in VIP club Renards and The Pink Elephant for decades, said it has nothing to do with Covid-19 or social distancing.


Bono, a regular visitor of Robbie’s top clubs, with wife AliCredit:
Pals Rosanna Davison and club host Robbie


Pals Rosanna Davison and club host RobbieCredit:
Alongside Paris Hilton, Robbie says Tinder has killed off nightclubs


Alongside Paris Hilton, Robbie says Tinder has killed off nightclubs
Rapper Snoop Dog paying a visit to Irish nightlife


Rapper Snoop Dog paying a visit to Irish nightlife
The top clubs owner brushed shoulders with Hollywood's elite, including Colin Farrell


The top clubs owner brushed shoulders with Hollywood’s elite, including Colin FarrellCredit:

Robbie told the Irish Sun: “The nightclubs are gone and are never coming back… I honestly believe the era of the nightclub is over.

“Because singles contact each other on Tinder now, then they meet in a coffee shop, then they go off together somewhere else.

“The meeting in a nightclub, where a guy would go over and ask a girl he didn’t know to dance is over. There used to be 15 nightclubs in Dublin, now there are none.”

Renards, The Pink Elephant, Lillie’s Bordello, John Reynolds’ POD on Harcourt Street, U2’s Kitchen, not to mention Joys on Lower Baggot Street, where Eamon Dunphy and pal Shane Ross drank into the early hours, are among the many clubs now gone.

And Robbie, who brilliantly re-invigorated and re-invented his own establishments several times, said it’s game over.


He said: “I talk to people who you’d think would be the perfect patrons for nightclubs, but they have no interest in going inside one. My nightclubs were about people meeting people rather than dancing and getting your leg over. Tinder is sex.

“At the end of the night, nobody wants to go home, everybody wants to stay out but that will be in a late bar which opens till 3am, not a nightclub. People used to leave pubs at 11pm, and go to nightclubs, but now any pub can get a late bar.”

For Robbie, The Pink Elephant was his first hotspot around 1980, followed by Lillie’s in 1992 and Renards in 1993.

It was in 2009, that Robbie lost his shirt when all four of his businesses: nightclub Renards, and restaurants Tante Zoe’s, Brown’s Barn and Barracuda, went into liquidation.

But Robbie points to November 18, 2010 — the night he opened a short-lived new club The Pink in the basement of La Stampa Hotel on Dawson Street — as the end.


Everybody turned out for Robbie — The Corrs, Pat Kenny and his wife Kathy who had met in the original Pink as well as Derry Clarke and Conrad Gallagher, the then Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan, and even rock’n’roll aristocrat Lord Henry Mountcharles.

Robbie said: “That was the end of the nightclub era in Ireland. They all came because they had all missed it and wanted it back but it was my last hurrah in showbiz.”

The former nightclub boss, who spent his late nights eyeballing the queues trying to get past the rope, thinks the nightclubs are missed, and their absence has led to the  scenes in South William Street in recent weeks.

Robbie said: “That’s what happens when you take away the nightclub door. As operators, we were responsible for who came in the door.

“In South William Street, this huge outdoor venue with absolutely no security which allowed anyone to come into the environment.

“South William Street was left wide open to any scumbags with a couple of cans. That’s the issue with outside dining and drinking, absolutely anything can happen. Individually the outlets in the area couldn’t have controlled it. The council, the Gardai, everyone would need to deal with it together.”


But there’s no class bias with Robbie, who started his career in Ballymun when his mother got him a job as a lounge boy at the Towers pub in Ballymun after he left school early.

A long apprenticeship followed before he opened the iconic Lillie’s Bordello, then established The Pink Elephant and Renards, Robbie becoming synonymous with celebrity partying as he attracted a string of global superstars through his doors.

So beloved of celebrities was he, that when he went bust in 2009, U2 famously name checked him on-stage in Croke Park in July 2009 with Bono telling the crowd: “You can’t keep a good man down.”

The U2 frontman knew Robbie well, as he often used  Renards for discreet meetings with celebrity pals.

Robbie said: “There was one night Bono came in with Sting. They had a great night, and it ended with Bono getting picked up outside Renards by his driver… so off he goes, I think Bono thought the next limousine was Sting’s but it wasn’t.

“So I’m standing there in my overcoat looking at Sting who looks a bit lost… I said ‘are you okay?’ and Sting says ‘Yeah but I don’t know where I am, or how to get to my hotel… I’m staying in the Westbury, where is that?’

“So I says to Sting, ‘I’ll walk you up’… so the next thing I’m walking up Nassau Street and Grafton Street with Sting at 3am in the morning… the mad thing is not one person recognised him.”

Robbie recalls loads more big music names that arrived in with Bono, and no one in Ireland even knew they were in the country.


He said: “I’d never name names but I remember chatting to another guy who came in with Bono, and it was Mick Jagger but no one recognised him. Our club was where Bono came to meet these people, we kept it hush hush, never spoke about it, and I guess that’s why Bono kept coming back.”

Now in his 60s, Robbie runs a successful business Hygiene Management System, which monitors hygiene standards in over 100 restaurants, which started with one staff member who used to monitor hygiene in his four restaurants.

Standing outside Kehoe’s pub on South Anne Street in the sunshine this week, Robbie constantly gets waves and smiles from passers-by.

He said: “I guess it’s a lovely legacy… I represent the good times to people. I’m 64 but I feel like I’m in my 40s… it’s years since I’ve been on a door but you know, I’m still a night person. A night owl.”

Robbie, pictured here with Sharon Corr, says nightclubs will never make a comeback


Robbie, pictured here with Sharon Corr, says nightclubs will never make a comebackCredit: Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

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