Old Newcastle nightclubs

15 February 2022Newcastle Uncovered

In such a fast-paced industry, with new clubs frequently coming and going, we take a look at some old Newcastle nightclubs that are no longer operating but left fond memories with thousands of party goers. It’s interesting to take a step back and remember the glory days of our favourite old nightclubs. After all, these establishments paved the way for the dynamic clubbing scene that many people enjoy today.

For those looking for an insight into Newcastle’s present day nightlife, we have a whole section of our website dedicated to the nightclubs in Newcastle, so be sure to check that out.

But now, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at some old Newcastle nightclubs that hold a special place in many of our hearts…


Former Riverside/Foundation Nightclub, N” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by The Development of Birmingham

First on our list has to be Foundation as this was the club that people seemed to miss the most when we posted about this topic on our Facebook page last week. Home to Shindig, Promise, StoneLove, Smile and several other popular nights from 1999-2005, Foundation was known as the only ‘proper’ nightclub in town and many suggest there is still nothing that beats it.

Between 1985 and 1999 the venue was known as Riverside and had a legendary reputation as an alternative music venue. Famous artists who played included Nirvana (their first live show outside North America was at the Riverside), The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Pearl Jam, Faithless, David Bowie and Oasis.

This is also where the world famous club night Shindig was born. Scott Bradford, creator and co-owner of Shindig, maintains that the best days of Shindig were during its time spend at the Riverside between 1994 and 1999.

Originally called ‘Blu Bambu’ but later shortened to just ‘Bambu’, this club located on the Bigg Market was a popular hangout for students during the week and locals during the weekend.

Along with some of the clubs listed above, Bambu was a popular choice for stag and hen parties and was known for its commercial music and drinks offers. Some attribute the fall of Baja to the opening and rise in popularity of Blu Bambu, as it was known it its formative years.

The Tuxedo Princess

The Tuxedo Princess and the Tyne Bridge” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Glen Bowman

The first of three venues in this list that technically wasn’t located in Newcastle but was just a short walk over the swing bridge from the Quayside. Moored beneath the Tyne Bridge between 1983 and 2008 (apart from a brief period of time where it was replaced by another boat, the Tuxedo Royale), this novelty nightclub was a popular choice for both residents and visitors to the area for over two decades.

Originally known as the Caledonian Princess, this vessel was built and used as a car ferry in 1961 until it retired from service 20 years later.

After failing to get planning permission to moor ‘The Boat’ (as it was often referred to) on the Newcastle side of the river, it made its home on the Gateshead side.

Credited with helping to build Newcastle’s reputation as a party city, ‘The Boat’ attracted thousands of revelers from outside Newcastle and was renowned for its revolving dance-floor. Its £10 all you can drink nights also proved to be popular!


Legends was a club that catered for a wide range of clientele over the years. Memories of this club may still be fresh in your mind seeing as it only closed down fairly recently.

Whether it was the mix of dance and hip-hop during weekends in the early 00’s, the ever popular student Wednesdays with ‘Deluge’ or more recently the Saturday rock nights – Legends always seemed to have something on to attract the crowds.


The Baja Beach Club – view from the roof” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Glen Bowman

Before the ‘Diamond Strip’ rose to prominence in terms of being the most popular nightlife destination in the town, the Quayside was the place to be – especially during weekends. A typical night out for many would include a visit to some bars in the Bigg Market or the Newcastle Quayside before heading over the swing bridge to Buffalo Joes followed by The Boat or Baja Beach Club, the second venue on our list that was actually located on the Gateshead Quayside. As the name suggests, Baja was a beach themed nightclub and a popular choice amongst locals as well as tourists to the area including hen and stag parties.

Billed as ‘the biggest party on the planet’, Baja’s popularity was evident by the huge queues outside during Fridays and Saturdays in particular and was a favourite for many since it opened in 1999, especially for those who liked a bit of cheesy music.


A favourite for several years, especially amongst rockers and students, Venue (formerly known as Krash) was a small club in comparison to some of the others mentioned above but had a big following for well over a decade until it closed in the summer of 2013.
The club was called Krash during a time when it wanted to cater purely towards the rock scene but in the mid 00’s the club was renamed ‘Venue’, with Krash remaining as the name for their ever popular Saturday rock night.

Buffalo Joes

Roger Smith, Buffalo Joe’s nightclub – geograph.org.uk – 1340580CC BY-SA 2.0

We thought we couldn’t end this post without further mention of Buffalo Joes as it was a very popular destination during the time it operated.

Again this venue falls into the category of nightspots that were located on the Gateshead Quayside and it was not actually a nightclub as such (more like a late bar), it was an iconic establishment that will be remembered by its punters for a long time.

This American saloon-themed bar attracted huge numbers of revellers looking for a party atmosphere as well as those who fancied a drink on their way to ‘The Boat’ or Baja (many of whom ended up staying at Buffalo Joes all night).

Complete with bucking-bronco and bar staff in cowboy costumes, the party atmosphere was ever present. The video below shows some of the bar maids dancing on the bar (Coyote Ugly style), a regular occurrence at Buffalo Joes…

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