'TROPICAL' storms may have greeted the latest addition to Blackburn's nightlife.

But the sunshine smiles inside Tiki Monkey, in King William Street, told a different story.


Staff at the Hawaiian bar are ready to serve up a dozen types of daquiris, along with the traditional mai tais, margaritas and mojitos.

Revellers were tempted away from the traditional St Patrick's Day fare for the launch, with iced teas, pina colada and alcohol-free 'mocktails' on offer for the drivers.

And one of the trio behind the new venture is hopeful their successful opening weekend will help bolster the town centre's late-night renaissance.

Blackburn-born Dean Rothwell believes the arrival of the neighbouring Drummer's Arms, the reopening of the Sir Charles Napier and the return of the Live Lounge nearby bodes well.

He said: "We remember the 80s and 90s, when Blackburn was booming and we want to bring something of that back to the town centre.

"I'm a joiner by trade but I've always wanted to open a cocktail bar. We got chatting with James and Katie, next door, and they told us that there was a vacancy and it just spiralled from there.

"There's been a lot of hard work to get us to where we are now but it's been worth it.

"We've had three soft openings, for family and friends, where we've ironed out some teething problems and it's been really busy over this weekend."

He is joined in running the place by business partners Rachel White and Benji Ashmead.

James Quayle, who runs the Drummer's Arms, has wished his colourful compadres well.

He added: "They are friends of ours and we thought it was a great idea. Hopefully we'll be able to feed off each other in future."

Before the launch, Cllr Phil Riley, regeneration cabinet member for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "This is exactly the kind of new business we've been working to attract something a bit different that will help set us apart as a destination and that will build on the reinvigoration of our night-time economy.”

Plans are being progressed by Ronnie Brown, who used to run North Bar, to transform the former Live Lounge into 'Loop'.

The popular bar closed in 2013 and Mr Brown, from Mill Hill, is hoping to run everything from indie and punk to dance nights there.