SPIN & TONIC
Washers get loaded with booze at the launderette
A LAUNDERETTE is putting customers in a spin by serving booze as they wash their smalls.
The Old Cinema Launderette and Bar was originally a 1950s cinema and is now a fully functioning laundrette.
But it also hosts concerts by local bands and serves craft beer, prosecco, G&Ts and cocktails.
The quirky business is the brainchild of Kathy Turner and her husband Richard, both 55, inset.
Kathy, who left her job as a youth support worker, said: “I’d always liked the idea of running my own launderette.
“Growing up, my grandparents had a guest house and my job was to take the towels to be washed on a Saturday.
“I loved the idea of having one and it being like my own little soap opera, with people coming in to chat as they did their washing.
“But I wanted it to be a friendly place with stylish interiors where people could relax, read a magazine, have a nice coffee and a chat, like you might have at the hairdresser’s.”
Kathy and Richard, an NHS children’s mental health nurse, took over the old cinema in Gilesgate, Durham, and restored it with a nod to its history.
It has a dressing room for the loo, retro wash powder packs, a piano, and posters from classics like Singing in the Rain and 12 Angry Men, plus a signed photoof EastEnderslegend Dot Cotton.
It was so inviting that people asked to use it for poetry events, then music gigs, and Kathy suggested they bring their own wine and beers from the nearby off-licence. Then they had the idea to apply for an alcohol licence and to serve drinks themselves.
Kathy said: “The bands even bring their own washing! We get people who come in and have a beer or a wine while they’re doing their load, or even just for a drink. It’s a real part of the community. Our customers are a lovely mix. “There’s students, where their parents might put £100 in our account and set up a tab for them to have their washing done, so they know that they will have clean laundry! “Then there’s the older generation who used to come here when it was a cinema. We had one man who met his wife here back in the day.”
She said: “I don’t think we would have survived just as a launderette.
“It’s important to offer something different and it’s evolved into something which is a dream for us both.”
SOAP ’N’ GLORY: Serving drinks and, below, a band plays gig