The Diary: Nightlife is Local as Corporation grows

Pictured is Mark Hobson,of Sheffield's Nightclub Corportaion,inside the new club Local Authority which opens on Friday
Pictured is Mark Hobson,of Sheffield's Nightclub Corportaion,inside the new club Local Authority which opens on Friday
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Corporation nightclub feels different during the day: the music’s not on, the revellers aren’t here and the toilets aren’t flooding.

“The floors are still a bit sticky, though,” jokes owner and founder Mark Hobson. “Mind where you step.”

The Star is here because tomorrow this Milton Street venue – a cavernous place renowned for its legendary rock gigs, alternative nights and dubious plumbing – is to be hugely expanded with the opening of an attached night spot.

The new £400,000, 270-capacity venue – complete with stage, sound rig and seriously impressive lighting – will be called Local Authority. That’s a play on the fact Corporation – now 16 years old – was named after the old moniker for Sheffield City Council.

“Are we ready for first night?” ponders Mark, a geology graduate who decided rock was more fun than rocks. “Put it this way, I’ve thrown buckets of water around the new toilets, and they seem to be working.”

It is no small achievement to be opening a new venue of such size in the current economic climate. But then Corp has always done things differently.

It was originally founded by Mark, 48, of Ecclesall, in 1997 in a Bank Street building – previously the notorious Bailey’s nightclub – before it moved to its present location 12 years ago.

The new site, with its rabbit warren of rooms and 1,200 capacity, was an instant hit with gigs by luminaries like Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of Doors fame, and Gun N Roses guitar God Slash. Popular nights include Friday’s alt rock shenanigans, Monday’s student bonanza and Wednesday’s vaguely questionable school uniform disco.

“Why do people keep coming?” muses Mark. “We’re an independent club which helps in Sheffield but I don’t think there’s anywhere else quite like us. The nearest other club doing what we do is Nottingham Rock City. And this is an interesting place. There’s lots of rooms to explore.”

He doesn’t say it himself but the one time trebles-for-singles offer on spirits probably helped.

In any case, that popularity meant, in 2011, when an adjacent industrial space became empty, Mark decided the recession could be damned and he’d expand further.

“I wanted this new club to be part of Corporation but different too,” he explains. “So we’ve created it as a separate entity with its own entrance and own nights but it’s also connected by an internal door so we can open it all up as one club. It feels different to Corp, though. We deliberately designed it that way.”

He thinks. “It’s not all painted black, for one thing,” he notes.

It took two years to get the design perfected but the former Silverdale High School pupil was determined to open in time for tomorrow, Friday the 13th. That’s because the club originally opened on Friday the 13th September 1997.

Now, he’s confident it will be a success, although he admits, as he approaches 50, he occasionally feels his age.

“When I first opened Corp I’d get friends ringing up asking for guest lists into gigs,” he says.

“Now they still ring up but they’re asking for guest lists for their kids – and asking me to keep an eye on them while they’re here. But I wouldn’t change it. It’s a lot of fun.”

Local Authority opens tomorrow.

Don’t bet against it still being here in 16 years.