Apapulco nightclub in Halifax celebrates 60th birthday

Halifax’s Acapulco nightclub has celebrated its 60th birthday with a special party.

The club, in Halifax town centre, was decorated in 60th birthday banners and balloons, and gave a package for anyone sharing their birthday with them, which included a teddy bear with an Acapulco t-shirt on, a birthday sash, a bottle of champagne, a badge and a balloon.

The Acapulco first became a legal nightclub in 1961, long before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and before the currency changed from the shilling to pounds sterling.

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Ted Turczak and his wife licensed the business to serve alcohol. They ran the club very successfully for many years until the late 1980s when he handed it down to his children, Chez and Chris Turczak.

Simon Jackson in his younger days at the Acapulco

The two brothers ran the club for several years before they eventually extended up to the second floor, doubling the capacity in 1990.

In 1990 when the club took on the extra floor and was refurbished, Simon Jackson joined the team as a resident DJ, working for Chez and Chris when the club was open four nights a week, Wednesday to Saturday.

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The club had various theme nights and regularly had TV stars from Coronation Street, Eastenders, plus Michaela Strachan, Limahl, Sinitta and other popular personalities of the decade.

Sinitta at the Acapulco

Themed nights included Miss Wet T-Shirt, Miss Acapulco, Miss Stockings and Suspenders... all popular for night-time entertainment of the era.

The Acapulco hosted one of the first telethons, linked live via the post office tower (now the BT tower) to London and broadcast across the country.

Competitions and quizzes included the chance to win a holiday by sitting in a bath of beans, plus other hilarities which were always well received.

“The Acapulco always had a good reputation for being a great night out for all ages, and this reputation has continued through the decades,” said owner Simon Jackson, who acquired the club in late 1995, with the support and encouragement of the Turczak family, and runs it to present day.

Michaela Strachan at the Acapulco

Simon says he has always worked hard to maintain the charm and appearance of the club from its heyday in the 1990s, slowly modernising the bar areas and the roof top terrace, which was fully renovated in 2007 when the UK-wide smoking ban was introduced.

Over the recent decades, the club has held its reputation as an entertaining night out with celebrity guests, games, and themed nights, gaining an iconic status for its name and appearance.

Over the last 25 years that Simon has run the club, it has continued to gain popularity. Justin Brett joined the team as General Manager six years ago and has been "working endlessly" to better the club.

“The Acapulco has been at the forefront of innovative thinking, adaptation and safety for business and the night-time economy,” said Simon.

Acapulco owner Simon Jackson with Justin Brett preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the club in Halifax

“We started recycling 19 years ago and have reduced waste considerably over the years.

“The management team were instrumental in starting Pub Watch within Halifax which is now a country wide organisation, dedicated to the safety of customers and the general public. We are proud to employ local staff and work with local business and suppliers where possible.”

The last few years have been exceptionally difficult for the nation and The Acapulco was no exception, having to close its doors for the first time in 60 years.

Simon, Justin and members of the staff worked extremely hard throughout the pandemic to support the community and ensure the club would be able to open its doors again.

The Acapulco Nightclub organised a series of drive-in cinema events to give back to the local community, specifically NHS workers and key workers whose efforts were tireless throughout the pandemic.

“Supported by Dean Clough, Eureka! And Playtopia in Mytholmroyd, the Halloween and Christmas drive-ins were a great way to reconnect with our customers and the public in Halifax whilst supporting local businesses and we were thrilled that they were a huge success,” said Simon.

“We’ve also worked directly with the NHS and council to open as a Covid vaccination centre for young people to receive vaccinations, which was a success and praised by all organisations involved.

“Being able to safely open our doors again in July 2021, was a nerve-wrecking but hugely positive experience. After being closed for 15 months there was a nervous anticipation as to whether the night-time economy would recover but we’ve been hugely appreciative of the positive response we’ve had to being open again.

“With strict Covid safety measures in place, so many customers have been happy to enjoy a night out with us again. It’s been even better to re-open in time to celebrate the Acapulco’s 60th birthday.

“The club was decorated to celebrate the occasion with more prize giveaways than usual and birthday teddy bears to win.

“It feels like a wonderful achievement to have reached this milestone, especially with the difficulties and obstacles we’ve faced over the years.

“Now we employ a member of staff whose parents and grandparents both worked at the club in their youth. To know that the history and memories of the club run through generations feels like a great success story for us and we hope that the club will remain in Halifax for years to come.”