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Article on Sheffield's changing nightclubs..

Sheffield History

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MARCH 2003

City centre nightlife dynamics are set to turn on their head if ambitious plans to turn Furnival Gate’s Allied Carpets building into a nightclub come to fruition.

The bid, which is in its very early stages we understand, would see the department store relocating to another Sheffield location and First Leisure opening a flagship venue.

Spokesperson for First Leisure, Theo Chalmers of CPR public relations, confirmed there’d been “an expression of interest in the site” by his client but wouldn’t comment any further.

Plans are also with the council’s planning department we understand.

Getting the magistrates to agree to the granting of a new licence for a club of such magnitude – First Leisure aren’t renowned for doing things by halves – would seem nigh on impossible considering the present city centre scene which many see as the best for a long time in terms of variety and vibe.

But the group might not have to do that.

First Leisure already operate the MASSIVE Club Wow nightclub at Valley Centertainment and there could easily be a case for transferring that licence to a new city centre venue if they thought that was a more lucrative option.

The same type of move was adopted by Barnsley-based Brook Leisure, the company most likely to suffer if First Leisure succeeded with their city centre plans, to open their thriving Kingdom nightclub in Barkers Pool a couple of years ago.

They bought up the former Pulse and Vogue nightclubs adjacent to Club Wow and transferred that licence into the city centre after their initial application for brand new licence failed.

Brook Leisure, presently working towards the opening of a new bar on Carver Street later this year, declined to comment on the plans.

Kingdom will itself be at crossroads in the next few years with the planned demolition of its building – and many in the vicinity including The Casbah – to make way for the new shopping centre.

It’s likely the First Leisure will face major opposition from club and bar owners across the city centre.

The bid marks the biggest single upheaval since the opening of Kingdom that, in many respects, filed the vacuum of a city centre-style super club left with the shutting of The Roxy.

The Barkers Pool venue also won the BEDA Nightclub of the Year award in 201, the first time a Sheffield club has succeeded.

The city centre has seen a proliferation of upmarket-style bars gearing up for the invasion of young professionals lined up to move into the hundreds of swish new apartments nearing fruition but no great sea change in clubbing since the arrival of Kingdom.

Brown St club gave way to Spearmint Rhino but the majority of their trade has now transferred to the Charles St venue just off the top of The Moor.

But questions need to be asked about just how successful the out-of-town nightclubs have actually been.

The price of laying on a free bus service – which has seemed the only way the East End clubs can persuade the punters to get out there – was crippling for Pulse and Vogue and apparently did much to seal their fate.

The news that the company operating Brannigans – situated directly under Club Wow – had gone into liquidation a few months ago can’t have done much for morale in the area

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