Fresh start for city bar once blighted by gangs

Marc Wagstaff who is reopening the former Empire Bar as Electric Box
Marc Wagstaff who is reopening the former Empire Bar as Electric Box
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A ONCE notorious bar in Sheffield city centre which was closed down by police after being plagued by postcode gangs, drugs and violence is to be relaunched within weeks.

House music DJ and club promoter Marc Wagstaff, a former RAF serviceman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has taken over the lease of the former Empire Bar, in Charter Square.

After discussions with police, he has been given a licence by Sheffield Council to reopen the bar under a new name - Electric Box - which will have a bright pink logo.

Marc, aged 31, from Woodhouse, whose DJ name is Funk Junkie, has worked with other venues including DQ on Fitzwilliam Street, Gatecrasher and Plug, and ran Nocturnal club nights.

He said: “Electric Box couldn’t be more different from the bar’s recent past.

“The venue will be as far away from what Empire was like as you can possibly get and with a completely different crowd.

“We will be playing house music rather than the bassline played when it was Empire.

“After it closed, the lease was handed back to the property company which owns the building and I have taken it on. I have no connection with those involved before.”

Marc added: “We’ve already started work in the building and hope to be open for Halloween weekend.

“There’ll be lots of changes and we are going to have an outdoor beer garden.

“The plan is to be open in the afternoon as a coffee bar, which has attracted support from Debenhams and be a pre-club bar in the evening, rather like how the bar used to be years ago before the problems under the recent management.”

Marc has been granted permission to open from 5pm to 5am Mondays to Thursdays, 5am to 6am Fridays, 11.30am to 8am Saturdays and 11.30am to 5am on Sundays.