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Sheffield might be a city densely populated with a wide range of pubs and clubs nowadays, but it wasn’t ever thus.
Back in the day, our choice of late night watering hole was between just a few select hotspots, some good, some bad, some particularly ugly.
Sticky carpets, queues at the phone bank and £1 pints – what’s not to get all misty eyed about? Let’s take a look at just seven of the Sheffield nightclubs that are gone but are definitely not forgotten.
Based under a multi-storey car park on Eyre Street, Berlins was the go-to nightclub in the 1990s. Former patrons will have fond memories of the questionable decor, dodgy haircuts and game-changing, ‘wheel of fortune’ style drinks offers. It was a popular haunt of the city’s student population, and Tuesday night was one of the big ones.
If you remember Berlins, you’ll remember either Isabella’s or Uropa, which were sat slap bang next door. You’ll also remember the mirrored corridor on the way in, and the tinny sound system banging out all the Luther Vandross you could handle. There have been several reincarnations since, including the ill-fated Niche, but the Eyre Street space will be most fondly remember as the city’s finest 90s soul haven. Isabella’s even had a revolving dance floor.
Widely remembered as one of the oddest nights out in the annals of Sheffield nightclub history, Josephine’s was all things to all people – a restaurant / wine bar / nightclub that attracted the upmarket and the wannabes, with a strict door policy that meant you were never quite sure whether you’d be allowed in or not. Shoes were a necessity, along with Brut. Lots of Brut.
Previously known as The Cavendish, Cairo Jax was something of a Sheffield institution, churning out R&B, soul and chart music with the occasional live act throughout the 1990s. Jax Diner chucked out questionable burgers for 50p, the drinks were dirt cheap and the whole place had its own musk.
Those of a certain vintage will remember the days of an old library on London Road that was made into a nightclub known at one time or another as Music Factory and latterly Bed. House music was the order of the day, taking inspiration from the Leeds clubs of the same brand and name, and for a while it was the head hotspot for ravers. It was mostly demolished as part of the redevelopment works to create new retail units on the ground floor, but some of the facade still remains on the outside of the Sainsbury’s Local store.
A legendary Steel City haunt for a number of years, the space that currently hosts O2 Academy will cut to the nostalgic core of any 80s nightlife lover. Roxy Disco was a pop haven, a smart, friendly club that welcomed some genuinely big stars in its time, including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan at the height of their fame. The place was massive, spread across two floors and perched atop a car park. They just don’t make them like that any more.
This one wheels you back as late as to the late 70s and throughout the 80s, and was another popular soul and funk club pumping out Alexander O’Neal until you could take no more. Legendary owner, DJ and Wednesday football fan Stevie Splash was the brains behind the operation, and also ran Millionaires on Carver Street. Small but perfectly formed, it was constantly heaving.
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All images Johnston Press