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Do you remember the distinctive décor and under-18s discos at The Venue in Dundee?

The entrance to The Venue in Dundee.
The entrance to The Venue in Dundee.

The Venue in Dundee was the only nightclub in the city that catered to the under-18s.

Serving non-alcoholic drinks, it was a safe place for Dundee’s youth to experience the 90s club scene for the first time.

Planning applications for Stack Leisure Park’s new nightclub were submitted in 1991.

The £4 million nightclub was approved and became the latest phase of the leisure park’s £50 million redevelopment.

Despite only surviving for just over 2 years, The Venue is still fondly remembered by those who used the popular haunt to cut their teeth on the world of clubbing.

The Venue

The Venue opened its doors for the first time on December 20 1991.

The wooden dancefloor became one of its several defining features, but it was the £60,000 laser lighting system that stole the show as the first of its kind in Scotland.

Britain’s VIPs were given exclusive access to the new nightclub at a private function which was held in the early evening.

With space for up to 1,800 people, Venue opened its doors to the public later that night at 9pm and reached full capacity.

The Venue nightclub held capacity for 1,800 people. 2015.

The Venue had two separate dance areas, a restaurant, and 4 bars.

One of its famed bars was the XS.

The XS had “larger than life” furniture and it created an environment that Alice herself would’ve been happy with!

Patrons wandering around the large furniture could see first hand what it would’ve been like for her to first experience Wonderland.

It was the place to be in the city for people of all ages.

Its hi-tech sound and video equipment included a 16-screen video bank.

The Venue was home to many performances from the UK’s most popular singers. 2015.

So who would be attending such a spectacular venue?

General manager Cameron Grant announced that top live acts would be playing at the club regularly from 1992, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

But there was something for everyone, and the Venue hadn’t forgotten its younger crowd.

As well as being a popular student spot, the Venue even catered to the under-18s with a regular disco.

Serving non-alcoholic drinks in fake beer bottles, it gave many Dundonian teens their first taster of the clubbing scene.

Award winner

In June 1992, the UK’s most prestigious disco awards set out to find the UK’s top disco.

Prizes were to be presented at a gala dinner which would be compered by chat show king Jonathan Ross.

The Venue won two awards.

It was voted top disco in Scotland in the national competition, and Mark Humphries from Dundee also won an award for designing the club.

The Venue nightclub encountered financial troubles in the early 90s. 2015.

However, The Venue’s success was short lived.

Within a year, one of its bars – the Buzz Bar – soon entered into financial difficulty.

The Venue itself followed shortly after.

It closed until it could be redesigned.


The Venue returned to the city one year later.

The Pasadenas flew in for the re-opening and performed a 40-minute set at what would be their only Scottish performance.

Their set list included their most popular hits, such as I’m Doing Fine Now, and Let’s Stay Together.


Dannii Minogue was one of the first stars to perform.

She first captured the nation’s hearts on Australian soap opera Home and Away playing teen punk Emma Jackson, and soon reached further acclaim as a pop star.

The Venue was also home to several popular tribute bands.

Cavern from Liverpool played at the club.

Their physical resemblance to 60s rock band The Beatles was described as “uncanny”.

With a sound that was as close to the original as it was possible to get, many said they could’ve believed they were actually watching the real deal.

Cavern were joined by Abba tribute Voulez-Vouz, and popular band Imagination, whose front man also appeared on Doctor Who!

The new Venue was determined to keep its customers the second time around.

Everything was in place to ensure everyone could have a good time with no worries.

The 24-hour car park at the Stack Leisure Park meant that those who decided to have a drink later on in the evening could leave their car in good faith, knowing they could return to collect it whenever they wanted the next day.

But for all their efforts, it wasn’t enough to keep the lights on.

The Venue nightclub provided entertainment for all ages.

The nightclub racked up significant losses in 1993, totalling around £350,000.

With board members saying it had “under-performed”, The Venue was finally closed for good in 1994.

The owners of the club confirmed its closure in March, alongside the loss of at least 40 jobs.

The Venue’s iconic logo. 2015.

With such a large empty unit at the heart of the Leisure Park, it wasn’t long before its other neighbouring units decided to shut up shop too.

It was when the Odeon next door shut its doors for the final time in 2001 that the Stack was reported as dying a “slow and lingering death”.

A saving grace was hailed in the early 2000s when plans were announced to turn the old nightclub into a new Sports Direct shop and gym.

Sports tycoon Mike Ashley’s said his company aimed to bring 96 new jobs to the city with what would be a £5 million development.

However, in 2015, planning officials said the development was “not considered to be an acceptable use” for the location.

The scale and nature of the retailing proposed would “undermine” the “vibrancy and vitality” of the city centre.

The Venue nightclub before it was transformed into Smyth’s. 2015.

The former Venue nightclub eventually became home to Smyth’s superstore and gymnasium in 2018, and the site’s fortunes were completely transformed.

It was a fitting use for the space, to see it catering to Dundee’s young people once again.

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