It’s an era that had everything from disco to punk via glam rock – but what was Sheffield’s greatest club of the 1970s?
That’s the question posed by Dirty Stop Outs’ Neil Anderson.
"It’s ten years since I completed a year-long project to gather memories and pictures from the 1970s.
Punters, DJs, venue owners, go-go dancers, waiters, musicians, hostesses – I spent many happy hours interviewing scores of people over those months.
I had no idea what the reaction would be to the book – up until that point most of my world had been writing about the here and now.
I suppose I just got carried away hearing the gushing memories. I loved the way people came alive when they started talking about their nights out of old in and around the city.
People had dug out forgotten photos and they started ringing friends they’d not spoken to for decades to confirm information.
Within a few months I was becoming an authority on the era and amassing an amazing collection of memories and memorabilia.
My initial interest in the Sheffield of the 1970s was actually sparked by a film - City On The Move. This 1971 council promotional flick actually includes footage from inside the renowned Fiesta cabaret club and is without a doubt the most confident piece of footage ever produced about Sheffield.
The nightlife is labelled ‘sophisticated’ and as good as anything in London.
It’s fair to say Sheffield was punching way above its weight in the early seventies and the punters were more than rising to the challenge.
It was an affluent time for the city and a great time to be going out.
The Fiesta, which opened 50 years ago this year in the summer of 1970, was then the biggest nightclub in the whole of Europe. Just let that sink in. The biggest nightclub in the whole of Europe. That was an incredible accolade but it was reminiscence of the confidence in the city at the time.
The glitzy venue attracted the biggest stars in the world – it came closer than any other UK venue to landing a gig by Elvis. The venue was underpinned by a whole network of thriving Working Men’s Clubs and the aim of most of their hit acts was to get on the cabaret circuit.
The Fiesta wasn’t the only cabaret club in the city centre.
The nearby Baileys on Cavendish Street was one of a national chain.
The Penny Farthing was a true place to be seen in the 1970s and the scene of a famous go-go dancing competition – you can still find footage online if you search hard enough.
Down the Castle Market end of town you’d got the Penthouse. Originally opened by the Stringfellow brothers, it morphed into more of a rock club in the 1970s.
The sprawling Top Rank provided mass market disco-style entertainment with its Steely’s nights. It also provided its Sunday night Improvision club which promoted up and coming rock and punk acts and more.
Josephine’s truly upped the glitz when it opened in Barker’s Pool in 1976. In house restaurant, champagne league and baby grand piano. It outlasted the ‘70s, ‘80s and was still doing good business right up to the mid-1990s.
The Limit was the city’s only dedicated punk venue when it opened in 1978. The West Street cellar venue was a massive hit.
The amount of venues on offer in 1970s Sheffield truly dwarves the number today. Pubs, bars, Working Men’s Clubs, nightclubs, cabaret clubs, rock clubs, punk clubs, out of town clubs – it was a very different world.
Other names of the ‘70s include Scamps, TurnUps, Hofbrauhaus, Crazy Daizy, Tiffany’s, Genevieve, Fanny’s, Shades and many, many more.
It was definitely a decade of two halves. Recession had set in by the end of the era. The Fiesta went bust in 1976 – it subsequently re-opened and then shut again, twice – and many venues struggled.
The reaction to the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Sheffield’ when it was launched 10 years ago was amazing.
It became famous nationally as the book that persuaded Ann and Chris Jackson to re-marry after 26 years apart.
Our poll ends at 12 noon tomorrow (Mon. Nov 23rd). Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what gets your vote!
And below are a few of our 1970s T-shirts to job your memory...