Unforunately, many of these iconic Brummie haunts aren’t open any more. But they are still alive in the memory of the people who frequented them.
Once upon a time, long hair, fringes, smokey dance floors, and groups of friends having a good time together were all that mattered on night outs. Back then, you could also end up finding the love of your life in a darkened nightclub. The times may have been simpler but people sure knew how to party.
So, we asked BirminghamWorld readers about the nightclubs they miss and here are the most popular ones that they remember (you can see what they said in our link at the bottom of our story):
Barbella’s, 41 Cumberland Street (off Broad Street): This is now part of the Brindleyplace development of offices and banks. In the 1970s, the was famous for being a regular venue on the Punk Rock circuit. Famed bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Ramones have all played there. It used to be known as the place to play for up and coming Birmingham bands.
Subway city, under railway arches in Livery Street: This nightclub shut down due to noise complaints and later Tunnel Club showed up there. It was formerly known as Holy City Zoo, known for its Bowie and Roxy Music type of audience. It was owned by ex-Aston Villa player and TV commentator Andy Gray amongst others. Duran Duran played in 1980 and The Eurythmics in 1981.
Rum Runner, Broad Street: Duran Duran initially worked, rehearsed and partied here in 1979 and 1980. It shut down in 1987 to make way for the Hyatt Hotel. The club opened in 1964 and it has had some famous clientele like Black Sabbath, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and UB40. The Beat filmed their video for Mirror In The Bathroom at the club.
Zanzibar, Hurst Street: This venue has been the Powerhouse, the Pulse and the Zanzibar. It faced demolition in 2021 as owners of Ringway House, Commercial Estates Group wanted to turn it into apartments. It was known as Ritzy in 1990.
Elbow Room, Aston: This place was frequented by Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, and even George Best. One of the co-founders passed away in 2014 but he had passed it on to other owners by then. The club shut in 2012 over licensing issues.
6. Bogarts, 68 New Street: This was a three floor club popular in the 1970s and it has now been turned into offices and banks. Most bands that performed here were Heavy metal or Hard Rock. Some of the famous bands that played include UFO, Quartz, Diamond Head and the Sex Pistols.
7. The Costermonger, Dalton Way: This iconic rock and metal bar in the heart of Birmingham shut down and reopened and shut again. It used to be called the Costers by regulars. People had loved it since the 1990s and sadly, a shopping centre stands at the site since 2009.
8. Mother’s Rock Club, Erdington: This club ran from 1968-71 and some very famous acts have played here. Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Marc Bolan, Free, The Who, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin - all of these greats have performened here.
9. 49ers, Smallbrook Queensway: This used to be a pub and the site is now part of the Bull Ring Shopping Centre.
10. The Night Out, Horsefair: It was a cabaret venue from the 1970s to 1980s. It had a 1400-seat auditorium and hosted some famous acts in its time.
11. The Garryowen, Small Heath: This used to be a 24-hour open venue that was shut down. It started just after World War II and in the 1960s many Brummie bands performed here. It was important to the Irish community in Small Heath.
12. Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston: This venue goes as far back as the 1870s. This was known as a great nightspot but shut down in 2005 to make way for family homes and cafes but that never happened either.
13. XL’s, Five Ways Shopping Centre: It started in 1992 but was demolished to make way for the Park Regis Hotel development. The place was owned by Tom Lennon Eddie Fewtrell who had a nightclub empire in the 1980s.
14. The Powerhouse, 1 Hurst Street: This opened in the late 1980s and played host to well known acts. It later was turned into a nighclub called Oceana which closed in 2011. The Powerhouse was a late 1980s venue that played host to well known touring acts. It later became a nightclub called Oceana but closed in 2011. It was at the same site as Zanzibar.
15. Top rank/ The Birmingham Ballroom, Dale End: It started as the Top Rank and hosted some major names through the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, it was called the The Hummingbird Club and then was bought by the Academy group of venues.
From 2000 to 2009 it was called the Academy, Carling Academy and the O2 Academy. The venue had to move and the Academy found a new home in the old Done nightclub. However, it moved back to the old venue eventually and was called The Birmingham Ballroom, which shut down in January 2013.
16. The Dome, Housefair: It opened at the same spot where The Night Out used to be. It used to be a massive nightclub that could fit more than 2,000 people. Later, the O2 Academy moved into the spot.
17. Rebecca’s, John Bright Street: It opened in 1966 and was named after the owner’s daughter. There was a nighclub and a brasserie at the venue where people went to boogie. The venue was partially demolished years later after it went through a couple of facelifts. In late 1970s, it was named Boogies.
18. The Romulus, Hagley Road: This was a fun nightclub which got turned into Liberty’s, which too was an iconic nightclub. Later, the place was turned into a restaurant and it stands there. The Indian restaurant, Akbar’s, is a chain restaurant that serves good curry.
19. Pagoda Park, Smallbrook Queensway: In the 1980s was a popular nightclub with three floors and the DJ going up and down in a glass lift. The venue used to host themed events as well.
20. Kings, Great Barr: This venue initially opened in 1937 as a pithead bath for miners and was later redeveloped as the nightclub - Kings. It was demolished, and as of 2023, the site is occupied by a petrol station.
21. Bakers Dance Club for the Millennium, Broad Street: It was located at Five Ways and closed in 2007.
22. The Q Club, Corporation Street: The Q Club opened the site of The Methodist Central Hall in Corporation Street 1991. Carl Cox, David Holmes, Grooverider, Paul Oakenfold, Underworld, Massive Attack, Pete Tong and Andrew Weatherall all played here, and Daft Punk’s first live album, Alive 1997, was recorded here. It closed permanently in 2017.
23. Branstons nightclub, Hockley: Wobble and Crunch were nights dance nights in Hockley. In 1992, it brought Birmingham to the nation’s awareness as the place to be.
24. Godskitchen at The Sanctuary, Digbeth: Godskitchen was a club at The Sanctuary in Digbeth in the 1990s. The building is now the O2 Institute.
25. The Steering Wheel Club, Chinatown: It was located in Wrottesley Street around the late 1980s and early 1990s and you could hear some great house music here.
26. Tin Tins, Bullring Shopping centre: This was an all-night dance club which opened in Spring 1990 as a gay club. The brainchild of Brian Wigley and Martin Healey, the club staged music acts, including Lonnie Gordon, Hazell Dean, Sharon Redd, and pop group Take That before they became famous. The venue was demolished in 1997 as part of the Bullring development.
27. Locarno, Hurst Street: Locarno Dance Hall opened in 1961 and remained one of the popular clubs in the 60s and 70s. The club was closed permanently in 2015 and is adorned with graffiti. One person wrote: “Lacarno loved it there.”
28. Bobby Browns, Canalside: The canalside club used to be called The Opposite Lock as well. It was a celebrity hotspot in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s but the venue closed in 2003.
29. Hummingbird, Dale End: The Hummingbird club has hosted the likes of Bob Marley, Nirvana and Amy Winehouse among others reopened as Forum Birmingham. The Hummingbird gave Brummies the taste of House music in the late 1980s.
30. Edward’s No. 8, John Bright Street: According to Birmingham City Council website, it began as a club in 1987 but become a heavy metal and hard rock club hosting national and international acts. Known as Eddies, it was sold in 1989 to the local brewery Ansells and changed to a nightclub. The building was gutted after a fire in 2006 and since then has become an office space.
31. Sloopys nightclub, Corporation Street: This club was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It was closed in 1982 after its license was not renewed.
32. The Stage Door Cafe & Club, Carrs Lane: Popular in the early 1960s, the Stage Door Cafe and Club hosted many famous musicians in its time.
33. The Click Club at Burberries, Broad Street: Burberries Club was at 220 Broad Street, next to Lee Longlands. The Click Club at Burberries ran from 1986 to 1990 before moving to The Institute. The club hosted some of the biggest names like Primal Scream, James, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Wonder Stuff, Bhundu Boys, The Wedding Present, The Sugarcubes, My Bloody Valentine, Blur, Loop, The Pixies, Frank Sidebottom, Suicide, Jane’s Addiction, Inspiral Carpets, Ocean Colour Scene, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Ride and Terry and Gerry.
34. Faces, Five Ways: This club was famous in the 1980s and 1990s. It was later renamed to XL’s.
35. The Millionaire or Millionaires, corner of Hurst St and Smallbrook Queensway: This club was popular in the 1980s and 1990s and has hosted some famous faces over the years.
Here’s the link to our Facebook post about the most missed nightclubs in Birmingham with all your comments. Please let us know if there are any you would like to add.