Sheffield history: 9 photos of Josephine’s where guests included Johnny Mathis, Tommy Cooper & The Two Ronnies

Josephine’s nightclub was one of a kind. It was based in Barker’s Pool from its opening in 1976 until it closed in 2003 – and offered city centre clubbers something different.

Thursday, 17th March 2022, 8:37 am

The club was the place to go in Sheffield if you wanted a rather more ritzy kind of night out.

Owner Dave Allen told Neil Anderson in his Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s: “I think it was well known that if you were going to Josephine’s you had to get dressed up as if you were going to a wedding.”

Celebrity guests schmoozed among the exclusive surroundings - or at least that is the crowd the club tried to court. And former customers remembered it as a place with the feel of a gentleman’s club and a clientale that hasn’t been replicated since.

It was advertised in the press as the ‘area’s indisputable premiere nightclub right here in the centre of beautiful Sheffield’ and boasted ‘the best nightclub restaurant in the country’.

Sheffield-based entrepreneur Dave Allen opened the venue in 1976. Known as the place for pick-up lines, posing and partying, it was far from your average Sheffield haunt, according to those who frequented it.

Neil Anderson explains: “When you weighed up the tens of thousands of pounds commanded by the global acts performing at Sheffield’s Club Fiesta cabaret club – then the biggest nightclub in Europe - against the cost of a DJ who could pack a discotheque, it didn’t take a mathematical genius to work out where the future was.”

Dave had already opened Napoleon’s Casino on Ecclesall Road the year before. He said: “The Penny Farthing was the club of the day, but you didn’t get ice in your drinks. There was no air conditioning and it was all hot and sweaty.”

Whilst most nightclubs played at food, Dave offered haute cuisine and top class service. He installed air conditioning, bought in ice machines and the champagne corks popped from day one.

The club, based in Barkers Pool, certainly had a good run and lasted for over a quarter of a century.

Dave recalled that anyone that used to play The Fiesta or Sheffield City Hall would go to Josephine’s afterwards. He remembers Johnny Mathis, Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker among the famous customers.

Josephine’s was known for its luxurious interiors as much as it was its upmarket clientele.

Crushed velvet padded toilet doors decked out the bathrooms, while neon signs and champagne flutes were very much de rigeur for those in attendance.

Neon was liberally spread throughout the club, in true 1970s and 1980s style.

The club was also known for having a particularly small dancefloor compared to other Sheffield nightclubs of the era.

The venue’s owner decided it was all getting a bit dated by 2003 and decided to shut up shop before spending a cool £750,000 on refurbishing it from top to bottom.

Much of the Josephine’s interior was auctioned off for charity, with money raised for Help A Hallam Child.

Clubbers were invited along on that final closing night to bid for a bit of the club to take home as a keepsake.

Josephine’s, known affectionately as Josie’s, closed on November 1, 2003. It was then that the club became Banus.

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