Dundee’s Venue was the only nightclub in town to cater for under-18s.
Serving soft drinks, it was a safe place for youngsters in Dundee to experience the 90s club scene for the first time.
Planning applications for the new nightclub at Stack Leisure Park were submitted in 1991.
The £4million nightclub has been approved and has become the latest phase of the £50million redevelopment of the leisure park.
Although it only survived a little over 2 years, The Venue is fondly remembered by those who used this popular haunt to cut their teeth in the clubbing world.
The Place opened its doors for the first time on December 20, 1991.
The wooden dance floor became one of its defining features, but it was the £60,000 laser lighting system that stole the show as the first of its kind in Scotland.
Former Olympic shot putter Geoff Capes was there in the evening to greet customers at the door.
British VIPs had exclusive access to the new nightclub at a private reception held in the early evening.
Seating up to 1,800 people, Venue opened to the public later that night at 9 p.m. and reached full capacity.
The venue had two separate dance areas, a restaurant and 4 bars.
One of his famous bars was the XS.
The XS had ‘larger than life’ furniture and this created an environment that Alice herself would have been happy about!
Customers walking through the grand furnishings could see firsthand what it would have been like for her to experience Wonderland for the first time.
The grand furnishings of the venue were accompanied by several wall art pieces.
Guitars and car parts lined the walls, except they weren’t painted – they were three-dimensional and real!
It was the place to be in the city for people of all ages.
Its high-tech sound and video equipment included a 16-screen video library.
So, who would be present in such a spectacular place?
General manager Cameron Grant announced that top live performers would play the club regularly from 1992 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Dannii Minogue was one of the first stars to be announced.
She first captured the hearts of the nation on Australian soap opera Home and Away playing young punk rocker Emma Jackson, and quickly rose to acclaim as a pop star.
Mainly releasing catchy dance numbers, his music in the 90s was the perfect soundtrack for the Venue.
The venue was also home to several popular tribute bands.
Liverpool’s Cavern was a fixture at the club.
Their physical resemblance to 60s rock band The Beatles has been described as “uncanny”.
With sound as close to the original as possible, many said they could have believed they were actually watching the real deal.
Cavern was joined by Abba tribute Want Vouz and popular band Imagination, whose frontman also appeared on Doctor Who!
But there was something for everyone, and the Venue hadn’t forgotten its younger clientele.
As well as being a popular place for students, the venue even caters to under-18s with a regular disco.
Serving soft drinks in fake beer bottles, it gave many Dundonian teenagers their first taste of the clubbing scene.
In June 1992, the most prestigious disco awards in the UK decided to find the best nightclub in the UK.
The awards were to be presented at a gala dinner which would be hosted by chat show king Jonathan Ross.
The venue won two awards.
It was voted Scotland’s best nightclub in the national competition, and Dundee’s Mark Humphries also won an award for the design of the club.
However, The Venue’s success was short-lived.
In less than a year, one of his bars – the Buzz Bar – quickly ran into financial trouble.
The place itself followed soon after.
The Dundee club were determined not to go down without a fight, but after a long battle they were forced to close until they could be redesigned.
The venue returned to the city a year later.
The Pasadenas flew for the reopening and played a 40-minute set in what would be their only Scottish performance.
Their set list included their most popular hits, such as I’m Doing Fine Now and Let’s Stay Together.
The new Venue was determined to keep its customers the second time around.
Everything was in place so that everyone could have a good time without worries.
Stack Leisure Park’s 24-hour car park allowed those who decided to grab a drink later in the evening to leave their car in good faith, knowing they could return to pick it up whenever they wanted the next day.
But despite their best efforts, it wasn’t enough to keep the lights on.
The nightclub racked up significant losses in 1993, totaling around £350,000.
With board members claiming it had “underperformed”, The Venue was finally closed for good in 1994.
The club’s owners confirmed its closure in March, alongside the loss of at least 40 jobs.
With such a large empty unit in the heart of the Parc de Loisirs, the other neighboring units were quick to close up shop too.
It was when the Odeon next door last closed in 2001 that the Stack was reported to be dying of a “slow, lingering death”.
A saving grace was greeted in the early 2000s when plans were announced to turn the former nightclub into a new Sports Direct store and gym.
Sports mogul Mike Ashley said his company aims to create 96 new jobs in the town with what would be a £5million development.
However, in 2015 planning officials said the development was “not considered an acceptable use” for the location.
The scale and nature of the proposed businesses would “undermine” the “dynamism and vitality” of the downtown area.
The former Venue nightclub eventually became home to Smyth’s hypermarket and gymnasium in 2018, and the site’s fortunes have been completely transformed.
It was a fitting use of the space, to see it host Dundee youngsters again.
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[Do you remember u-18s discos at Dundee’s The Venue nightclub?]