In the 11 years of the V Awards, Newport Venues has won more awards than any other business – more than 50 combined. Voice caught up with the extremely busy owner Iftekhar Harris to talk about what makes his venues so successful. Here’s what he had to say:

Why do you think people keep voting for your venues to win year after year?
The people of Newport have always been the lifeblood of our venues. In my many years of business, our clubs have managed to be a part of several generations of families which live in the city. It’s this personal connection that’s helped us create a real community who I don’t just see as customers but as friends. They have helped us grow throughout the ever-changing face ofNewport city centre.

Club of the Year went to The Courtyard, why do you think the punters voted this venue as the best?
It’s a real testament to the hard work of my loyal staff here at Courtyard, from the bar staff, DJs, management and door supervisors who help maintain the safe secure space. The Courtyard has always tended to be one of the friendliest venues.

As the Courtyard also shows a lot of sport,will you be running any promotions alongside this years’ Rugby SixNations in February?
Nothing beats the atmosphere at our big screen sports events, especially after the fantastic buzz surrounding 2015’s Rugby World Cup on home soil. So expect the same festival atmosphere of guest drinks and great nights out not just with the Six Nations but also major PPV boxing, MMA events and world class football right throughout the year.

Both The Courtyard andWarehouse 54 have won Club of the Year, but which venue is your favourite and why?
It’s hard to choose between each of the venues as I’ve always promised to bring as much variety to the city through the clubs. With our weekly live music showcases at Warehouse, including our fantastic Monday night acoustic sessions – a personal favourite of mine or some of the showcase DJ-led events at Courtyard, the best moments, whatever the venue, are people enjoying great music whatever the style or choice of night out.

Warehouse 54 was voted City Centre Venue of the Year,what major acts/ bands/DJs do you have planned for 2016?
As well as bringing a taste of the summer festival season with more of our trademark funk, folk, reggae and ska gigs every weekend, I’ll be turning my focus continuing to support the local live scene. It’s the smaller independent music venues which help introduce music lovers to tomorrow’s headline artists,
which is why I’m looking forward to introducing some of the very best South Wales talent alongside national tours and breaking bands in 2016.

The Blind Tiger offers a great selection of vegetarian dishes,what vegetarian dish would you recommend to someone who has never visited Blind Tiger before?
Our fantastic vegan burgers are one of my favourites on the menu.Our kitchen team makes them using nothing but the very best ingredients. So, they are a great alternative to our locally-sourced Celtic Pride burgers and one of the real stars of our specialty burger menu.

You’ve recently added new cocktails to the Blind Tiger menu. What has been a best-seller?
We’ve really given the Blind Tiger drinks an extensive makeover continuing the independent spirit of things by home-infusing our spirits in our cocktails to offer something a little different to the brilliant big brands at Friars Walk. From the rose-water in our signature Turkish Delight Martini, to the fruit-infused spirits in our personal twist on our best-selling Sex on the Beach.

Resident DJ Matt Kirke has won DJ of the Year numerous times, what tracks does he predict to be massive tunes this year?
You’d have to speak to Matt about that. We are definitely seeing a new wave of great urban and dance producers as well as the UK grime really being the sound of the summer throughout 2015. Look out for some home-grown Newport stars making an impact in 2016 too with Aleighcia Scott, Fernquest and Dellux all making waves.

NP21 is your latest venture. What can people expect from a night at this new establishment?
We’ve made sure we’ve listened to our customers to help bring a range of entertainment and nightlife options to help rival any city on the rise. Expect even more interaction between ourselves and our customers to bring another great alternative to the likes of Courtyard and Warehouse for all ages.

You have a fantastic offerwhere people can enjoy all of your venueswith an NP Club Hop wristband.What are the benefits of buying one of these for a night out on the town?
We’re happy to try to offer the best value right throughout the weekend. Some of the best nights out are Local nights out, among friends and loved ones with a calibre of home-grown DJs and talent that can easily match any other city in the UK on the rise.

Following the success of the Irie Shack in Cardiff, you’ve just opened a second in the bay, do you have any plans to open in Newport?
Ha, now that would be giving away all my secrets…

Finally,what does 2016 hold for Newport Venues?
Expect more great nights out right throughout the year. It’s been fantastic to see such a buzz for the city with all the recent development projects and we’re proud to be part of the new city centre. There’s still improvements to be made, but with a great range of independent start-up businesses and food vendors complementing the major change, customers will have even more choice right here in the ‘Port.


6Market Street
NP20 1FU
01633 259144

Blind Tiger
50 Cambrian Road
NP20 1FW
01633 259144

The Courtyard
46 Cambrian Road
NP20 1YN
01633 259144

Warehouse 54
54 Cambrian Road
NP20 4AB