willow york
  THE WILLOW TRIBUTES PRESS STORIES ...I WOULDN'T BE... SHOP

 

Thank you for keeping the memory of the Willow alive by sharing your amazing stories and fantastic pictures!

WILLOW DISCO COMPETITION - win a Willow Disco illustration
The best stories for the following categories will receive a Willow Disco inspired illustration

- Best ‘If it hadn’t been for the Willow I would have never…’ story
- Funniest Willow Disco memory story
- Best Willow Disco memory story

Please email your submissions to willowyork2015@gmail.com
By emailing your stories and photos you are giving your consent that the content can be used on the www.willowyork.com website. If you wish to appear anonymous or you do not want your full name to appear on the site please state this in your email.

The competition will be judged by the Fong family on 4th November 2015.
We look forward to reading your entries for the website.

 

Thank you to Hannah Allies for writing in to tell us about her love of the Willow and the things that will never be, even if it does make us feel a little tearful...we think the perfect accompaniment music to this is the Cheers theme tune "Where everybody knows your name" by Gary Portnay.

I was a student from 2010-2013 and i was devastated to learn i would never darken its doorway one last time. Our final visit was back in february on a reunion weekend in York - Tommy recognised us 2 years on and it was a magical evening.

My proudest moment of my entire university career was when a stranger came up to me at about 2am in the smoking queue outside la senza and asked, with a look of awe on her face, and asked: ' are you hannah allies? I've heard you come to willow AT LEAST 3 times a week!' when that happened, i knew i had achieved all i needed to in York.

Willow was my second home; the place that bought all York students and locals together. Requesting the Game of Thrones theme tune on our Game of Thrones fancy dress night, with 30 of us in full costume was one of the most perfect Willow moments I can remember. For it to then become a staple of every willow night will be a legacy me and my friends will remember forever.

Willow forged our friendships and many of our relationships - we're all devastated that we will not be able to host a proposal, hen party or wedding reception there. We all had our hearts set on it.

I never thanked Tommy and the family, Conrad, Sam or the rest of the team properly for making our university careers what they were. We loved Willow unconditionally and it will forever have a place in our hearts.

 

And if you want to recreate the Willow feeling whilst you look through the stories and reminise about the Willow then listen to the playlist posted on Spotify by Neil Johnston.

 

Thank you to Tommy Walsh for sending in his funny presentation made from a night out that he and his friends had in their first year (4 years ago!)

A thank you from Molly Parker who is currently mourning the loss of The Willow...

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the good times over the years! I had heaps of fun being there with York Uni's pantomime society - we used to take up far too much space on the dancefloor doing our choreographies to cheesy pop tunes. Where else but Willow could we have done that? We adored the place, haha.

On the last night, two friends (Lindsay and Lewi) and myself turned up in mourning gear - black veils, little battery-operated candles, Willow shirts and a lot of eyeliner - and queued for hours but sadly didn't make it in. We made sure to snap a photo with Tommy before having to leave and gave him a "we'll miss you" card which we addressed with a big W on the front.

I'm sure you'll get loads of photos of the panto people in, so I've just attached a few of us 'mourning' - hope Tommy got a kick out of it! Absolutely loved the place - pretty sure nothing will ever compare. Thank you so much for all the hard work you've all put in over the years looking after overly drunk students and running the best club in York.

mourning the willow disco

mourning the willow york

 

One of our customers has sent her story about her first time in the The Willow, you definitely need a strong stomach for this one...

Me and my friend were talking to these two guys in Dusk and they persuaded us to go to Willow for the first time. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. These guys bought us each a jagerbomb, which to our surprise came in a tall tumbler as opposed to the little glasses with a glass inside it. We both thought the right thing to do would be to down it in one go, so we tried our best to finish it in the corner of the dance floor nearest to the door. At this point the guys we were talking to were elsewhere, so they didn't see that immediately after I emptied my glass, I emptied my stomach, vomiting it straight back up into the corner. Mortified, my friend took me to the toilets but thankfully there was nothing left to throw up. We got back to the dance floor and saw the guys again. The one I was speaking to was wearing all green and is always referred to by my friends as "the green man". We danced for a little bit but my friend stepped outside to answer her phone, so it was just me and the Green Man. He took his chance and kissed me, whilst all I could think about was the taste of vomit still in my mouth. I think he could tell by the look on my face so he just said "I'm sorry". My friend came back just after this so we made our escape. If it wasn't for this night I wouldn't be so close to my friend and we would never have had such fond memories of Willow, so for that we must thank the Green Man. 

 

Beautiful shot of the Languages Class of 2015 loving life in The Willow, sent in by Katherine Tabor

Kathering Tabor

 

Oliver Todd reflects on how Willow has made him the man he is...

I'm amazed that there can't be more done to stop a genuine York landmark being shut down to make room for yet another greeting card shop to open up. I've heard they'll get rid of the entrance and any real remembrance of the previous venue entirely which is a great, great shame.

I've been coming to the Willow for a short six years of its long existence but I can honestly say it's contributed to the person I am now (not sure what that really says about me!). I've laughed, cried, and everything else in between in that brilliant room (though I promise I never touched the ceiling tiles).

Thanks, and good luck to you guys in retirement. You've been brilliant to the students of York for many years and even those who have long gone appreciate it.

 

Jamie Summers reminices about a few of his favourite moments in the legend that was the Willow...

I was a student at York between 2012 and this year, and on every occasion from my first visit to Willow in October 2012, until my final visit last week, my friends and I had a good time without fail.

When I first went to university, we'd all heard urban legends about the Willow - that it was unique and like no other place in York (or indeed the country). Those legends were right - Willow really was unique and that's why it holds a place in so many people's hearts. Bars and clubs often come and go - I can think of several that have closed down in my time in York. But no other leaves an impression like Willow. A combination of its background as a restaurant, its brilliant music, the venue itself and of course Tommy and Sue mean it is was so distinctive.

Some of my personal favourite memories include my first ever visit; I've never been so happy on a night out as when, after a few bars before hand, I went into Willow and 'Come on Eileen' came on across the dancefloor. There was the time me and a friend went in for a 'short' visit at opening time (we were the first people in). We got a drink, sat down in the room overlooking Coney Street and got talking. Next thing we knew (and several Sambuca shots later) it was 4am and closing time!

Me and a lot of my friends were involved in student media and societies at University, and we used to have our socials on Tuesdays, ending the night in the Willow. There are so many brilliant memories of terrible dancing, brilliant music and plenty of alcohol that are amongst the highlights of our time at University. From our first visit, we took an immediate liking to Willow, including the brilliant drawings on the walls, 'King Fong' and everything about the place. By the end of our time at University, my group of friends would get in touch to organise a night out and every text would finish with the line "All roads lead..." which had come to mean "All roads lead to the Willow!" - and sure thing, every night inevitably ended on the Willow dancefloor! From every night there is a different tale to tell - a huge group of people getting together to sing Hey Jude, or getting my suit covered in foam during a Christmas party at Willow last year! And of course hour-long conversations over a drink in the top room. Silly costumes, birthdays, socials, we've had the lot in Willow. I've included a couple of photos too from one of my favourite visits.

My personal favourite memory of Willow will be my 21st birthday last year. When me and a group of friends got near the front of the queue, Tommy wished me a happy birthday and asked if I was having a good day. It really meant a lot, and I replied with "Thanks Tommy - you've got tequila and I've got a fiver, so everyone is a winner!"

Then last week, the day of my graduation, a huge group of us went to the Willow knowing it was going to be the last time we'd ever go, after the news broke that it was closing down. We had one hell of a night and enjoyed every minute of it, the Willow has a unique charm to it that will never be replaced. We were lucky to have three years of the Willow - it's just such a shame that students in the future won't be able to have the same experience. I like thousands of others am sad that the Willow has closed its doors for the final time, but we'll always have fond memories. Lastly, just to say best wishes and a happy retirement to Tommy and Sue. They've always been great with me and my friends and I hope the future is great for them. York will never be the same without Willow, it's the end of an era. My only regret is that I never got my hands on a Willow t-shirt!


Greg Ebdon shares his memories of his best Willow night...

Thank you so much to Tommy, Soo, Becki, Vicki and everyone else for the best times and the greatest memories. Such a brilliant part of York culture, she'll be fondly missed. Met, made and solidified so many great friendships in the gloom and noise. Only had to use the toilet once. So many PantSoc socials where we'd request our big dance numbers then clear the dancefloor to have 40 of us all doing the scene in sync! The first and last times I went with one of my best friends were the night we met and the first night of our last year, and both times I left with her in an ambulance... she's the one who required it.And Stephen got the sign, that shining star in the East over Coney Street, the bastard!

I've attached a brief chronology of some landmark times in my personal experience of the Willow, including possibly the best Willow night, watching the sun rise from Clifford's Tower with said best friend after staying until the lights came on. Thank you. Fuck Clinton's.

Greg Ebdon

Thank you so much to Tommy, Soo, Becki, Vicki and everyone else (still in touch with Konrad by any chance?) for the best times and the greatest memories. Such a brilliant part of York culture, she'll be fondly missed. Met, made and solidified so many great friendships in the gloom and noise. Only had to use the toilet once. So many PantSoc socials where we'd request our big dance numbers then clear the dancefloor to have 40 of us all doing the scene in sync! The first and last times I went with one of my best friends were the night we met and the first night of our last year, and both times I left with her in an ambulance... she's the one who required it.

And Stephen got the sign, that shining star in the East over Coney Street, the bastard!

I've attached a brief chronology of some landmark times in my personal experience of the Willow, including possibly the best Willow night, watching the sun rise from Clifford's Tower with said best friend after staying until the lights came on.

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

Greg Ebdon

 

We think Alexandra Slingsby might be the Willow number one fan, and we love her for it...

 

New years eve 2013 Pippa and Charly enjoying the foam

 

Elyshia says "R.I.P WILLOW XXXXXXX"

 

And some of our favourites from the the old Willow gallery

 

Willow Restaurant Disco & Bar
  Willow Restaurant Disco & Bar