A huge, dark former basement club on West Street, The Limit is now regularly referred to as ‘the small place that U2 played at when they were starting out.’
The Limit opened on 30 March 1978. Despite its reputation for being dark, having sticky floors and the toilets invariably being flooded, the venue is regarded as ‘legendary’ by former patrons.
Many bands graced the stage at The Limit including OMD, Madness, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Undertones, Marillion, Ultravox and UB40 — as well as the usual Sheffield bands, such as Def Leppard, Caberet Voltaire, Human League and Pulp. Indeed, members of local bands seemed to always be in the venue whether playing or not!
Legend has it that Pink Floyd performed a secret warm-up gig at the venue with word getting out just an hour or two before doors opened. As would be expected The Limit was packed out with hundreds of people turned away.
The B-52s also played their first ever UK performance at The Limit, later described by Q magazine as one of the best gigs of all time.
On club nights DJs such as resident Paul Unwin would play an eclectic and alternative mix of music, ranging from Joy Division, The Clash, Iggy Pop, New Model Army, The Cure, Ultravox, Simple Minds and many, many more.
The Limit finally closed its doors on 19 January 1991, to much sadness from its many regulars. The final night was ticketed at £10, which included all drinks for free in order to drink the bar dry.
A painted ‘Sheffield Music Map’ plaque long marked the spot where The Limit once stood, but inevitably the building was bulldozed and redeveloped into new retail units and apartments.
Even today a number of ‘The Limit reunion’ nights at various venues in the city prove popular. Many familiar faces from the original club can be seen at these events and often music will be provided by the original DJs from the venue.
A local bestselling book about The Limit is still a popular read and a couple of venues have tried, but failed, to recapture the spirit of the original in recent years.
All Sheffielders will have their own favourite night-spot, other notable former clubs include Cairo Jax (formerly Romeo and Juliet’s, Bank Street), Josephines (Barkers Pool), Rebels (Dixon Lane), Crazy Daisy (High Street), Music Factory/Bed (London Road), Gatecrasher/The Republic (Matilda Street),
There are so many former nightclubs in Sheffield it is impossible to remember and list them all!
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A version of this article was originally written for and published at Social Sheffield / We Love Sheffield magazine.