Are we still having a debate about free water in nightclubs? Really?

Empty glass stands on the bar 2

At the start of the month, Mixmag posted an April Fools Day ’exclusive’ claiming that Ibiza clubs are set to offer free water this summer, meaning you can now ‘get your rave sweat on without remortgaging your house’…

Written by a Don Aquaviva (see what they did there?) and featuring Ibiza Council ‘hydration department’ head Aigua Mentir (oh my sides!) the ‘article’ also finds time to ‘quote’ the great Carl Cox as saying: “That’s fantastic news. Water way to start the season…”

But behind this jollity, it’s a simple fact that offering free water in clubs is STILL an issue in several clubbing hotspots.

I can think of a prominent Dublin venue that currently* refuses to offer free water to thirsty clubbers, despite being happy to do so a year or so ago.

This also despite said club being regularly packed to the gills, and the climate therein akin to the jungles of Borneo.

Are they legally permitted to do this? It seems that the answer is yes – from what I can see, there’s nothing in Irish licensing laws that dictate that premises are required to offer free water on demand. A thread from a few years back addresses this in more detail.

But there’s a whole moral question at stake, which is nothing new. In fact, the issue of free water in clubs has been around for more than 25 years.

Back in 1992, the Independent newspaper in the U.K. highlighted how club owners in Manchester were starting to offer free water, due to the dangers of overheating.

The same article quotes a Manchester City Council spokesperson as saying “The code of conduct was drawn up after we received confidential information about clubs where the cold water supply had been turned off.”

Since then, the governments of England, Wales and Scotland have put into their licensing laws the requirement that pubs and other premises must be able to provide free drinking water on request.

In the interests of public health, shouldn’t this be the case in Ireland too? To say nothing of Ibiza…

Yes, the White Isle’s extortionate water prices make for an amusing April Fools prank. But when it comes to overheating in clubs, that’s no laughing matter.

[*It’s worth noting that I have not set foot in this club since January, and therefore would be hopeful that they have since rectified this anomaly.]

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3 thoughts on “Are we still having a debate about free water in nightclubs? Really?

  1. Well, in fact, as per a 2018 law that seeks to reduce plastic waste, Ibiza coffee shops and restaurants are required to always offer the option of free tap water over bottled water. I don’t see why that wouldn’t apply to clubs. Ibiza tap water is not a great option but it beats the 12-euro alternative.

    1. Finally a bit of progress being made, but I doubt the club owners will notice. They’ll probably just switch to glass bottles, a la Pacha

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