Dempseys, Affinity & Studio 54
Before the highly-anticipated Sheffield Pride weekend opens its gates, Dan Kahn AKA 'Tia-Anna' talks to some of the scenes bar managers; Dempseys, Affinity & Studio 54 will all be taking part in the festivities, read on to find out more:
Dan first spoke to Dempseys' assistant bar manager, Tom Beaumont:
Dempseys recently celebrated 13 years at Hereford Street, long outliving many other venues such as FUEL and the original Affinity. Many of us have also been impressed by the refurbishment, especially the highly original VW Camper-Van DJ Booth downstairs! What other plans have you got to make Sheffield's premier LGBT venue even better?
A revamp of the upstairs toilets is shortly being budgeted for, and in addition an exciting new upstairs DJ booth is being planned. Once the upstairs upgrade is completed, we are looking at face-lifting the downstairs once again to keep the venue looking its best.
We are also looking at lots of ideas to bring more people in, (such as special events/offers, etc.)
What are Dempseys doing for Pride? Have you got any special events lined up in the daytime, or extra-special Guest DJ's in the evening?
Dempseys are organising the official pride launch-party on Tuesday 2nd July, with raffles, drink offers, even drinks giveaways are planned; and of course our normal SKINT drink offers as on normal Tuesday nights too!
What time do you shut after the Saturday Night, and what time is the last entry on the night?
On Pride Day itself, we open at 2pm for afternoon food and drinks, and later on, it will be the normal packed Saturday Night, with all your favourite Saturday Night DJ's (so expect to see familiar faces such as Missi Martin and Kieron at the decks) We will be open until 6AM (sorry we couldn’t get a licence for any later than this, but we will guarantee a great night dancing till dawn).
Apart from running Sheffield's favourite LGBT Venue, what else would you say that Dempseys has done for the LGBT Community?
Dempseys has provided somewhere for the last 13 years for LGBT's in Sheffield to have a safe and welcoming atmosphere; they have set a superlative record in organising numerous charity nights, for anything from HIV to education, to animal welfare, and even raised money for aid in Thailand following the Asian Tsunami disaster.
We always have a well-stocked supply of condoms and lube available at the upstairs and downstairs bars, and finally we have a LGBT community notice board and racks of LGBT magazines between the toilets in the downstairs bar. Anyone can post LGBT relevant notices or adverts for services/accommodation, etc. here if they ask at the bar.
Will Dempseys be doing cabaret again either on a regular basis or at least for special one-off nights such as charity fundraisers?
Maybe in the near future, Dempseys will start doing some cabaret/entertainment nights, but we need to get people coming along to them.
The next night of special entertainment is the Titanic themed night on Sunday 30th June, from 9pm until late, featuring some live entertainment.
Studio 54's, Daniel Richardson (Bar Manager) was then asked about the upcoming festivities:
As the manager of Sheffield's newest regular LGBT venue, tell us what have you got specially lined up for Pride Week?
As most of the Pride events had been planned many months before the first Flirtatious event there wasn't much room for us to be majorly involved. However, on the Wednesday evening of Pride week at Studio 54 we are holding a Secret Cinema event. This will be open to anyone over the age of 16 for the first film, and then as the evening gets later it will be strictly over 18 for other films which are gay cult classics. The bar will open at 7pm with a strict ID policy, there will be popcorn available for those who wish to nibble during the film.
What would you describe Studio 54 as? A Gay Club, a Gay-Owned Mainstream venue, a LGBT-friendly bar, or what?
Although Studio 54 is predominantly a mainstream venue with specific LGBT nights, we are very LGBT friendly welcoming. We do not allow private promoters who occasionally run events in our venue to be exclusively heterosexual, Studio54 is, and always be a LGBT friendly venue.
Can you tell us a bit about what you have in the pipeline for the LGBT scene, and other info such as special events that might interest people, weekly opening hours, competitions, etc?
As always Flirtatious will continue to be a monthly event, occurring either the Second or Third Saturday of the month. There isn't anything currently in the pipeline for further LGBT events. However, we are more than happy to host any events or parties that the LGBT community wish to put on. Our opening times are Thursday 8pm - 12pm, Friday 8pm - 3am, Saturday 8pm - 3am. However, for certain events we do open on other days of the week and at other times, these can usually be found on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/studio54sheffield.
Would you be interested in hosting a regular Drag Cabaret Night, as Sheffield's two existing fulltime 'Gay' venues appear to have moved away somewhat from this still broadly popular form of entertainment, which is much in demand in other cities in the region, not just by the gay crowd but by other strong markets like the Hen Party crowd?
Drag Cabaret nights aren't something that we have put much thought into. Feedback from some members of the LGBT community has been minimal regarding the matter, but what feedback we have had doesn't show much interest. If we were to be approached by more customers more frequently asking for something along those lines then we would of course look into it, but for now it isn't something that we have in the pipeline.
Dan then spoke to Natalie Gunn of Affinity Bar:
How would you sum up Affinity in 3 words?
A fun, nice place to be!
How does Affinity see itself as part of the local Gay Scene, for example in relation to Dempseys?
It's the 'Baby Bar' of the Scene, (as it has been around only since about 2006), it has a lot to give the Scene, and it is working towards using the experience of the long-standing gay bars over the years in Sheffield (Dempseys, Xes, Cossack, etc.) as inspiration for the future.
Our ambition is to make Affinity a staple gay bar for Sheffield.
What is Affinity doing for Pride?
During the day we are organising the Family-Friendly, FREE Stage at Barkers Pool, featuring local bands, performers, singers, etc. At 3pm we will be joining the Pride Parade from Barkers Pool to Devonshire Green. We will also be generally around on the day, so look out for us! In the evening, we will be emphasising a theme of bringing the party atmosphere 'into the 21st century' with the help of a party organising company 'Fierce Angel', who are promising a vibrant line-up of DJ's and LIVE Percussionists, (Rather than camp drag cabaret) for you to dance the night away until 6am (FYI the Main after-party at the O2 across the road ends at 4am, so do head down to Affinity for the 'After-After Party)!