Live music and club venue, formerly called the Carling Academy, now known as the O2 Academy.
The O2 Academy occupies the former Roxy nightclub building, and indeed the building is still known to many as ‘the old Roxy’ despite being several years vacant before reopening as the Academy. The building sits on Arundel Gate, one of the main thoroughfares encircling the city centre, with Sheffield bus station directly behind it (indeed the building pretty much blots out the sky from the station) so it’s easy to find. It looks like a large square box, covered in fading silver tiling, from the outside and it is equally large and box-like on the inside. There are actually two separate venues inside, Academy 1 – a large hall holding about 2,500 people, incorporating the main stage, and Academy 2, with a capacity of about 600, which is used for smaller bands and events. There are a number of bars throughout the place, as well as a balcony and a couple of side rooms.
The Academy is primarily a gig venue, with a number of concerts each week (check their website for listings) though it also doubles up as a club every Friday and most Saturdays, with rotating club nights both organised by the Academy themselves and guest promoters. The hugely popular Gatecrasher – once housed in legendary Sheffield nightclub, the Republic, before it burnt down – is now staged at the Academy on one Saturday every month, as is the 60s themed Brighton Beach. Fridays is Pet Sounds (as with many of the other resident nights, it is a club night staged at a number of venues throughout the country). The crowd varies depending upon the night and who has appeared on stage, but by and large it attracts fans of indie, Northern soul and Britpop with rock, dance and electronica at the peripheries. The bands themselves are really the best guide to the kind of crowd you’re likely to encounter.
Big name brands such as Strongbow and Guinness are available, as are an immense range of spirits, shooters, alcopops and cocktails. Prices vary considerably depending on the event – there are always numerous drinks offers available (such as pints of Carling £1.80, shooters £2, doubles with mixers £3, selected cocktails £3.50 and so on). Away from the offers, though, prices are pretty steep. There are always offers on, though – even on gig nights – but these do vary so check the prices before you order or you might find yourself paying more than expected, even if you’ve been before.
The Last Word
Great venue, but as with all such places it’s only the bands and club nights that make it worthwhile.