LONDON, Los Angeles and New York are just some of the places that inspired Sarah McGuiness to open The Halyon Jazz Club in the seaside town of Moville.
The building, previously used as a cattle market, has been transformed into a Soho nightclub of the 90’s taking people back in time as soon as they step through the door.
Originally from London, Sarah moved to Derry during the troubles where she grew up singing harmonies of choral classics with her mother and sisters on long Sunday drives around Donegal.
At the age of 18 Sarah moved to London where she studied English and drama before forming a band and gigging in London’s bars and clubs.
With plenty of experience under her belt from her gigging days, Sarah decided to bring Soho to Donegal by opening The Halyon.
“When techno arrived in the 1990s it drove a lot of old school places out of business. My theory is that people actually love the old school thing. I just thought I can provide it and I wanted to provide something that is London level.
“We began stripping the building back and added a stage, chandeliers and big red curtains. I have had a few people say to me it’s like walking into a London club and that’s what I was trying to do with it.
“Nightclubs today are really just for kids, you can’t talk or meet anyone properly. The Halyon is going back to a more civilised period around 25 years ago. I made it my mission to bring it back because I see how happy people are when they have it.
“The Halyon is open from 7pm to midnight so it is very much for older people who want something lovely to eat, a conversation or to meet people at the bar,” said Sarah.
The Halyon officially opened in 2020 but the dream was shortlived when Covid struck.
But for the first time in two years the doors of The Halyon swung open in December, welcoming back some very excited guests.
On the night of the reopening, there were only 100 tickets up for grabs.
Welcoming guests from 30-years-old to over 70-years-old, everyone was there for one reason and that was to be teleported back in time.
The night kicked off with a three course meal provided by chef Ian Orr. Live music from The John Trotter Big Band, Kalon Rae from The Voice and Scarlett Fever followed while Sarah also took to the stage to perform a song or two.
The night came to an end with a set from DJ Liam who travelled from London for the re-opening.
Sarah said the reopening night was amazing.
“I have never seen so many people with such big grins,” she revealed.
Following the success of the reopening, Sarah has already started planning her next event.
“The next event will be a Valentine’s extravaganza.
“Like every event there will be a dress code, at the very least black tie for men. In my experience working all over the world, when you ask men to wear black tie they step up and that’s what you want.
“Everyone is welcome, it is a real mixed bag culturally and all you have to bring is a good attitude.”
For more information email HCtick2019@gmail.com or find The Halyon on instagram @thehalyonclub.