READERS of the Courant recently got nostalgic over Hexham's most famous - or perhaps infamous - nightspot.

Dontino's, later known in various guises as Studio and its affectionate nickname 'Donnies' was a part of the town's nightlife for almost five decades.

The £40,000 club opened with a billing as a luxury nightspot in 1972, fulfilling a lifetime dream for owner Donald D'Adamo - better known through his Hexham hairdressing business as Donalde.

Back them it featured a cabaret room, bar, lounge and restaurant for wining, dining, and dancing.

The Courant reported at the time that it covered 5,000 sq ft, and was fitting with wall-to-wall carpeting and "lavishly decorated" throughout in warm purples, blues, reds, and oranges - the peak of 1970s design!

Donalde said: "I have given Hexham one of the finest hairdressing salons in the north. Now I am going to give it one of the finest night clubs."

The name came from Donalde's children - Donald and Christine, who along with their father and mother Margaret were Dontino's four directors.

Things certainly changed over the years. in 1972, no one under 20 was to be admitted, while men would have to wear collars and ties.

The memories shared by readers included many a good night - and even more baskets of chicken - but it appeared that Mr D'Adamo's desire for a luxury nightspot may have waned over the years.

Younger residents of Hexham will remember Donnies more for sticky floors, late nights and the occasional scuffle as opposed to cabaret.

After the family were in charge for more than 30 years, Donald D'adamo jnr. passed the torch to North-East based leisure company Vimac for an undisclosed sum.

Vimac ran the club under its Studio brand of nightlclubs, and pledged to carry out a major refit for the following year.

Things didn't entirely go to plan, however, and Studio abruptly closed its doors in June 2011. It reopened two weeks later and returned to the Donnies identify - but then closed again in September.

The following year, local businessman Shaun Scandle took on the challenge, reopening the club as Studio Sports Bar.

It returned to the Donnies name one final time before it closed its doors for good in 2018.

In February, it was confirmed the site would be turned into flats by developer Lugano - ending the colourful story of one of Hexham's best-known institutions.