You likely danced, moshed and spent many a drunken night at many now-defunct venues across the UK; a cruel twist of fate such as financial liquidation or a devastating fire ending them for good. But what’s become of some of Britain’s great ‘lost’ gig venues? Here, we look at their rich histories, remembering what exactly made them brilliant venues, and finding out what they are now (spoiler: student accommodation features prominently).
The Boardwalk, Manchester
Great gigs: Oasis played their first-ever gig there, while The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays also graced its stage.
What was it like: A multi-floor nightclub, gig venue and rehearsal complex rolled into one.
What is it now?: “Stunning office space.” Great.
Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park
Great gigs: Pink Floyd, Queen and Hendrix – famously burning his guitar on stage – all played here.
What was it like: Opulent art-deco theatre that was once one of London’s premier venues.
What is it now?: The UK base of the Brazilian Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
Great gigs: The Beatles, Buddy Holly and The Rolling Stones all performed here.
What was it like: A cinema from its opening in 1930s to its 2012 demoliton, it moonlighted as Nottingham’s premier venue in the ’60s.
What is it now?: A 15-storey block containing student flats and shops.
Astoria Theatre, London
Great gigs: Arctic Monkeys played a frenzied sold-out show in 2005 before they’d even released a proper single.
What was it like: A 2,000-capacity club, it was a great place to catch the next big thing.
What is it now?: Demolished in 2009 to make way for the development of the Crossrail project.
The Cockpit, Leeds
Great gigs: Coldplay, Muse and Amy Winehouse all played early shows here.
What was it like: Made up of three tiny venues snugly located underneath railway arches in Swinegate.
What is it now?: Vacant, after the venue’s promoters cited fading midweek interest and essential building maintenance.
The Haçienda, Manchester
Great gigs: Madonna, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, and Blur all played at this iconic club.
What was it like: The world’s greatest nightclub, if you ask certain people.
What is it now?: Student flats, unsurprisingly. But at least they’ve retained the original Haçienda name.
Floral Hall, Belfast
Great gigs: Artists to play there in the ’60s included Lulu, Small Faces and Pink Floyd.
What was it like: An art-deco ballroom, it hosted dance hall soirees, wedding receptions, and the odd gig.
What is it now?: Located within the grounds of Belfast Zoo, it’s now used to store feed for the animals.
Edwards ‘Eddie’s’ No 8, Birmingham
Great gigs: Nirvana, Radiohead and Rage Against The Machine all entered through Eddie’s doors.
What was it like: The heart of Birmingham’s rock scene.
What is it now?: A fire in 2006 destroyed the building, and Eddie’s was moved along after a £3 million restoration was completed in 2011.
Clouds Disco/Satellite City, Glasgow
Great gigs: Elvis Costello, Stone The Crows and Simple Minds all gigged here.
What was it like: Situated on top of the city’s famous Apollo venue, it became the go-to place for bands.
What is it now?: It became an Odeon cinema before that too shut, and it’s now a Walkabout. Sigh.
The Point, Cardiff
Great gigs: Franz Ferdinand, Danger Mouse and Super Furry Animals took to the altar.
What was it like: Built originally as a church in 1900, it became a 500-capacity venue in 2003.
What is it now?: After going into voluntary liquidation in 2009, it’s since stood as a silent relic to the good times.
The Barfly, Cardiff
Great gigs: Who didn’t play here? The Libertines, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, Los Campesinos!…
What was it like: Indie paradise – where else could you see Franz Ferdinand play a 200-capacity venue?
What is it now?: Hopbunker, a craft beer pub.
The Boardwalk, Sheffield
Great gigs: The Clash played their first ever gig here in 1976 alongside The Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks.
What was it like: A cosy venue that once employed Alex Turner as barman, purportedly serving as lyrical inspiration for ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’.
What is it now?: It’s currently vacant.