Tommy Fong back at the Willow! (But sadly not to reopen it)

Tommy Fong reads the messages left on the door of what was the Willow. Photograph: Lee Jordan
11 Sep 2017 @ 7.14 pm
| News

It’s a picture which rekindles memories of a thousand classic nights out.

The one and only Tommy Fong returns to the Willow, York’s most remarkable nightspot. Sadly though he wasn’t there to reopen the Chinese restaurant and disco.

Instead he was photographed by Lee Evans taking a look at the messages written on the door which once led up to nights of food, booze, music and all sorts of other Willow-inspired mischief.

“You will understand the huge emotional connection of this photo that we massively miss – as the man himself reads the tributes,” said Lee.

Still empty

Some of the messages on the old Willow entrance on Coney Street. Photograph: YorkMix

Tommy ran the Willow on Coney Street for 42 years. The venue, known for its prawn crackers, cheesy tunes and fun vibe, closed forever on July 27, 2015.

The news was a bitter blow to city revellers old and young. And, sadly for the student freshers now arriving in York, nothing has arrived to fill the Willow shaped void in the two years since.

In fact the premises – now found above Clinton Cards – is still empty and up for let.

Still empty… what was the Willow

Tommy in the same doorway on the Willow’s last night. Photograph: Ceri Oakes

Lee, a bar manager in York and former Willow regular, said: “Honestly, it has to be the most loved club in York.”

That was certainly echoed in the comments left on his Facebook post. As Matt Labunda said: “Tommy – what a legend”.

Aleksandra Król wrote: “This is breaking my heart.”

And when someone asked for an explanation, Courtney Olivia did the city proud with this:

Willow night club was a Chinese/Asian restaurant by day and a crazy disco by night where they walked around with trays of prawn crackers and it was so fucking cheap to drink and they shut it down.