Sticky carpets, watered down drinks, crappy music and questionable dance partners – what’s not to miss about some of the big players in the gone-but-not-forgotten Leeds night life scene?
There are favourites across many a generation that have bitten the dust over the years, but which are looked upon most fondly? And which were dodgy enough to question all that teenage wisdom?
Take a look at just seven of the lost Leeds nightclubs of yesteryear.
Town & Country Club
Now home to the ever-popular O2 Academy, the much-missed Town & Country Club (or T&C as it was affectionately known) was a high-calibre hot spot for live music and club nights, and was home to the ‘Love Train’ evening that so many Leeds clubs have tried and failed to emulate since. As a live music venue, it hosted names such as Robbie Williams, Blur, The Stone Roses and David Bowie. Between the two it was also Creations, for which Leeds folk harbour significantly less fuzzy nostalgia.
Bondi Beach Bar
Big plastic sharks on the wall, bar staff in bikinis, and of course a rotating dance floor that claimed the balance of many a drunken beach-goer back in the day. We’re talking the ultimate early 00s club, blessed with DJs that had no time for being trendy and a attitude towards under age drinking best described as ‘relaxed’.
Drinking, dancing and doing god knows what else in a church was just one of the attractions to Halo, a huge hit with the city’s student population and one of the 00’s most popular haunts. It closed in 2014 amongst the audible groans of a generation of boozers, in part due to an increasing numbers of safety and anti-social behaviour issues. The party poopers.
No commuter or shopper can easily forget Majestyk, who’s hauntingly empty building greets them as you leave the train station at City Square. Once a plush cinema capable of hosting nearly 2,500 movie goers, the grand old building lived through a handful of reincarnations before becoming the cheesy, colourful club night we all loved to hate. It closed for the final time in 2006, and remains the biggest and most tragic waste of city centre land to this day.
One for the kids, this, who may remember an all-too-fleeting affair with Kirkstall’s Control. A favourite of midweekers and students, it was the talk of the town when it first came in, penned as ‘the biggest purpose built, multi-million pound music and dance venue in the North of England’, and at first glance had all the tools to become a phenomenon. It made quite a splash, too, welcoming names as big as Eric Prydz, Pete Tong and Snoop Dogg during the three-year blast. Alas, the LED-heavy scenery was just too much, as were the realities of sustaining a 3,100 capacity venue. It’s soon to become a laser tag venue.
Let’s face it, The Brotherhood is a huge upgrade on Gatecrasher / BED / whatever you called it back in the day. But those fuzzy memories of cheap VKs and indie midweekers still loom large, as do the memories of three levels of flooring that completely ruined your shoes. Dare I say that people of a slightly older generation might prefer ‘Mr Craigs’?
Imagine going for a night out in the Merrion Centre?! That’s exactly what Leeds’ goths used to do back in the day at Bar Phono, originally penned as ‘Le Phonographique’, which was widely reputed to be the birthplace of the Gothic subculture. A pillar was located in the middle of the dancefloor which is what led to the unique goth ‘two steps forward two steps back’ dance. Marc Almond was one of their DJs in the 80s and it even welcomed members of The Clash as regular patrons.
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All photos: Johnston Press/YEP