Club GM calls time after two decades

Staying ahead of the game key to Cathouse’s longevity, says Kirsty Smith

Pastures new: Kirsty Smith with Cathouse owner Donald MacLeod.
Pastures new: Kirsty Smith with Cathouse owner Donald MacLeod.

AFTER more than two decades working in one of Scotland’s best known and most enduring nightclubs, Kirsty Smith is gearing up for life on the other side of the bar.

The general manager of Glasgow’s Cathouse rock club completed her last shift on Saturday (February 10) and is set to pursue a full-time career in acting – something which has been a hobby up to now.

Speaking to SLTN last week ahead of her final shift, Kirsty said it had been a big decision to leave the venue, which she joined back in October 1994 as a member of bar staff when the club occupied premises on Brown Street before it moved to its current home on Union Street.

Kirsty quickly worked her way up the ranks to become management in 1998; and she’s seen no shortage of change at the 750-capacity club, which opened in 1990 and is owned by Donald MacLeod.

“The Cathouse has definitely evolved,” she said.

“We’ve changed the layout of the club and done renovations; but we’ve also kept evolving our operations – we were one of the first to build a smoking shelter before the smoking ban came in, we were ahead of the restrictions on glass. I think the fact we’ve always been at the forefront has been key to it and the fact the Cathouse is still here after 28 years.

“The clientele is always evolving too, although we still have a lot of regulars that have been coming every week as long as I’ve been here.

“We’re always asking our customers what they want – that’s been really important too.”

Kirsty counts gigs by Anthrax (for the Cathouse’s 25th birthday), Pearl Jam, Oasis and Foo Fighters – as well as every Halloween – among her most memorable times at the Cathouse. And while she said she will miss working there, Kirsty is looking forward to going to the club as a customer.

“I’m going to miss it a lot; I’ve worked here for almost half my life so it’s a big change,” she said.

“I love the customers, I love the music, I love the passion everyone has. We’re a family and Donald has been a fantastic boss.

“I stayed here as long as I did because of the family feel and what this club stands for.

“I’ll still be in to see them all though. I’ll be able to see it from the other side of the bar and I’ve offered to cover holidays and help them out whenever they need it; I can’t just walk away completely.”