Flares is a chain of late bars-cum-nightclubs that can be found in most major towns and cities in the UK.

What sets Flares apart from the other establishments out there is the fact that it's a seventies theme bar. This is first apparent from the typically disco-type scenery one is confronted with on entry to the bar, with bright, groovy colours and strange curvy shapes for things like door handles and windows.

As might be expected, the music primarily consists of period 70s disco music from the likes of The Jackson Five, The Bee Gees, Rose Royce et al. This is occasionally broken up with some more modern cheese music. (That is, even more music that's only cool so long as fifty other like-minded fools are dancing along to it.) Of course, there is never any shortage of people to dance when the night gets going, indeed, even the DJs can be known to get involved and get a good dance going.

It isn't all gruelling dancing though, as the Flares in my university city of Sheffield at least, holds various fun and games, such as the space hopper race across the dance floor, the winner of which gets a bottle of "champagne". Also up for grabs for good dancers are other goodies like silver top hats, Flares badges and goodie bags.

One might think that because of the heavy emphasis on the 1970s that Flares might be crawling with forty-somethings with bad dress sense and even worse dance sense. This is sometimes true but since quite a few branches of Flares hold student nights, Flares is quite often the place to go for younger people. A student night in Flares seems to really be about having a good time and not just about getting leathered or seeing how many members of the opposite sex you can get off with, which is quite a refreshing change. In smaller towns and cities however, expect to see an inundation of wrinklies or youths of questionable age. There are usually doormen at branches of Flares that can range from being very pleasant to gorilla-like duff merchants.

Whilst on an ordinary night Flares can be just as cruel on the wallet as any other bar, student nights are very reasonably priced, with selected drinks being just a pound each. The very nice sambucca, sadly, remains at £1.50 a shot though.

On a busy night Flares will stay open right the way through until 2 AM. However this doesn't mean you can only go to Flares as a stand-alone night-out, in fact, quite the contrary as Flares can also make a very good up-beat pre-bar as well. For those who find the 70s feeling a bit too retro for them, Flares can usually be found nearby to another chain that is run by the same company, Reflex, that is an 80s theme bar.