MEET the trio who are hoping to bring a Mr Smith’s feel back to Warrington’s nightlife.

Darren Beddard, Phil Jones and Johnny Wilson all have experience in music, events and showbiz and have decided to come together to host a number of events in the town – starting with the monthly club night, Passion.

Launching in style with a red carpet on arrival and dancers, stilt walkers and fire-eaters, the first Passion night will be held at Bruno’s in St Austins Lane on Saturday, February 16.

The three friends particularly want to appeal to people who used to go clubbing at Mr Smith’s back in the day and promise a more varied music offering than some of the town centre’s late night bars.

Phil used to be a regular on the decks at Mr Smith’s and will be headlining the roster of DJs on the new Bruno’s night.

He has been part of Warrington’s circuit since he was about 18 and won a DJ competition at the GMEX in 1997.

Phil, a former Great Sankey High School student, will also be launching a single on the night called New Dawn, which is a remix of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good.

He is returning to his roots as a music writer as he was once part of the writing team for two of Atomic Kitten’s tracks including the top 10 single, I Want Your Love.

Phil, from Orford, has also worked with violinist Nigel Kennedy and Happy Mondays’ Paul Ryder.

More recently Phil has turned his hand to screen writing and there will be some filming on the night for some of the trio’s upcoming productions.

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Darren is part owner of The Lounge bar and helped Viola Beach during their rise through the music scene by buying them guitars and helping them to set up their record company, Fuller Beans.

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He met Phil through Warrington’s club and bar scene and had his own taste of showbiz when he set up the boyband DNA who shared stages with the likes of Westlife, Atomic Kitten and 911.

Darren, who was in the same form as J from Five at Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School, also used to be a dancer at Mr Smith’s and used to rehearse there in the DNA days.

Johnny completes the trio who brings his experience of promoting VIP sports events all over the United States.

Darren said: “We were touring with Atomic Kitten, Phil was writing for Atomic Kitten and I lived around the corner from Johnny in Culcheth.

“When we all met it just clicked. It’s really weird how it has all come around.

“We’re just using our connections and knowledge to offer something different. It’s going to be a great night.

“There’s going to be dancers, stilt walkers and fire-eaters there and we’ve camera crews so we can capture the whole night.

“We just want it to be a really upbeat night that brings back old times because people are missing it. All you hear in pubs and clubs these days is what’s playing in the charts so we wanted to offer something different, especially for those who used to go to Mr Smith’s.”

Darren, who used to be the manager at McCauley’s, described Mr Smith’s, which was demolished following a fire in 2015, as an ‘icon’.

He added: “Remember when you used to get dressed up for Mr Smith’s, maybe stand at the top of the VIP lounge and make a proper night of it?

“That’s what we’re trying to get back. Mr Smith’s was an icon.

“When we did The Hitman and Her it was so big. There’d be a couple of fights but it was good for Warrington because people would come from all over.

“The only reason this night is happening is because we’re using all our experience and contacts to pull it all together between us.”

Passion launches at Bruno’s on Saturday, February 16, and takes place from 10pm to 3am.

Tickets are £5 on or those who are eating at Bruno’s beforehand can enter for free. There is also a smart dress code.