A famous nightclub credited with turning Brighton and Hove into one of Britain's capitals of dance music is closing after 21 years.

The Zap Club in Kings Road Arches, Brighton, helped build the city's buzzing reputation for nightlife and has helped launch many top DJs' careers.

But managers have decided to close the venue because they believe it has become a relic of a bygone age.

However, the historic venue will not be gone for good.

The beachfront club has changed hands and will open in the summer with a new identity, although the details are still under wraps.

The new owners have taken charge of the closing party, which takes place on Sunday, May 1.

DJs from the last two decades will play homage to one of the South Coast's original dance music institutions.

In its heyday, the Zap Club attracted some of the giants of the dance scene.

Norman Cook, better known as Fatboy Slim, played there, as well as international names such as Seb Fontaine, Pete Tong, Karl Kox, Tim Westwood and Sarah Chapman.

Resident DJs included Radio 1's Chris Coco and Russell Small of Phats & Small.

Those behind the club believe that the scene it stood for - acid house and huge dance events - is no longer what people are looking for in a night out in Brighton.

Gareth Zaver, marketing manager of C-side, who currently own The Zap, said: "We decided that it wasn't the business we wanted to continue in.

"It has got this history with the warehouse and acid house scene, which the Zap really made its name in. It was known across the country for pioneering acid house.

"I suppose it is a bit of a dinosaur in the club world."

Mr Zaver said in Brighton's very competitive market, C-side thought the hottest venues today should have more of a late night bar, relaxed feel.

He said:"People seem to want a lot more comfort, being able to sit down and talk and being able to have a dance if they want."

Simon Woplin, C-side's operations manager, said: "No one is going to lose their job.

"We have just decided to concentrate on smaller venues because we think the market is changing.

"With the new licensing laws people are going to want quality rather than quantity."

C-Side still owns the Beach Club, the Arc Club and the Funky Buddha, all in King's Road Arches, Sumo, in Middle Street, and the Gloucester in Gloucester Place.

Zap Club general manager Richard Chidlow said: "Of course I'm disappointed because I've spent more time here since I started as a glass collector in 1999 than I have in my own home.

"Everyone remembers nights they have spent in the Zap and everyone has a story to tell about it."

New owners Rob Fredrickson and Warrick Armsby-Ward already own late-night bar Heist on West Street.

They said the bar was doing well and they started looking around to branch out.

Rob, 28, of Ditchling, said: "When we heard through the grapevine that Zap was for sale, we could not pass it up.

"Never in a million years did we dream we would get it.

"The Zap Club is a huge piece of Brighton nightlife, it's a landmark and for us to be able to pick up the freehold was an exciting proposition."

He said they planned a refurbishment of the building with some major repairs but would not reveal the new name and what they had planned for the venue.

He said: "We're keeping it under wraps for the moment but what we can say is that it will continue to be a nightclub and music venue."

The Zap Club started life in 1982 as Brighton's premier cabaret and alternative nightspot once a week at the Royal Escape in Marine Parade.

It opened in its permanent home in King's Road Arches in 1984 after founder Neil Butler took out a second mortgage to pay for a £60,000 conversion.

In the early Nineties the club held regular, packed events featuring live bands where such about-to-be-huge names as Blur, Manic Street Preachers and Ride played.