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The hard cell: should phones be allowed in clubs?

The use of mobile phones on the dancefloor can ruin the clubbing experience. Is a heavy-handed approach the best way to solve the problem?

  • Izzy Hargreaves
  • 24 March 2016
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But doesn’t introducing strict rules you have to follow (or else) in clubs go against the intrinsic nature of partying? Clubs are meant to be spaces where you’re free to do as you want, and having irate door staff giving you a hard time on entry, shouting at you in the queue for the toilets or, if you’ve had the misfortune of visiting a glitzy West End hell hole of a weekend, telling you you can’t have a drink on the dancefloor, can taint your experience. Do we need them having a go at us for using our phones too?

While on the one hand, keeping phone use to a minimum in the club can help enhance the night, allowing you to forget about whatever’s going on in your Twitter feed, clubbing isn’t an experience like the cinema, or going to the opera that demands total silence and 100 per cent of your attention throughout. You dance for a bit, you get a drink, you chat to your mates; then you might grab your phone to Shazam a track, take a snap or text Gary to find out why he’s been in the smoking area for 40 minutes. Do you really deserve a torch in the face and indignant grunt for doing any of these things?

Maybe the answer’s somewhere in the middle. At Phonox in London they’ve introduced a policy of asking punters to avoid reaching for their phones on the dancefloor, specifically aiming to avoid persistent filming, with owner Andy Peyton telling us, “We’re not trying to be militant or make a statement. The club is just a nicer place without camera flashes on the dancefloor. We hand out cards on entry explaining why.”

Let your crowd know the score beforehand, and if you need to use your phone, just slip away to the bar. Everyone’s happy. Then again, as far as we’re concerned, anyone caught on Candy Crush in the club should be banned for life.

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