Note – the current operators of Buzz Wakefield were in no way involved with this venue on the night of our visit.
A night out at Buzz Wakefield October 1997
We visited on a very cold Wednesday night. The streets were quiet, but those who were out were smartly dressed. As thought anticipating an over 25s night that had failed to materialise. Many went up to the illuminated frontage of Jumpin Jaks, but the building as closed, as was Club Ikon.
There was very little traffic in the Westgate area, although police vehicles maintained a constant presence. Most licensed premises were also quiet, with any customers rushing in to avoid the intense cold.
Yates`s had notice of an application for an Entertainments Licence to allow them to use a J to allow music for dancing – something from history in licensing terms
The busiest pub in the area was the Foreshaw and Firkin. Customers were casually dressed, but the atmosphere was excellent.
The Exclusive Exchange Bar certainly lived up to its name. They had only had two customers up to 10pm. The barman told us that Buzz was the best place to go afterwards, although it was reputed to be very overcrowded on weekend nights. He had been going there for two and a half years, but he was bored with it, and now favoured Jumpin Jaks; especially the Sunday Comedy Nights.
We also visited A Taste of The Alternative, a very busy student bar; also Rumours, a feeder bar for the LA nightclub underneath, which was open until 1am. We then moved to Barristers, a Wetherspoon`s look-alike bar, which was also quiet. The staff told us that Buzz was becoming very rough and ready, but that Jumpin Jaks was “brilliant”.
A lone door supervisor stood at the entrance to Buzz. He had an unfriendly style, and ignored us as we entered. We paid our £1 admission fee, while some others signed the guest book and were admitted free.
It was a 70s night, with all the bar staff dressed in the sort of accentuated costumes that give the decade a false image. The DJ called himself Johnny Diamond, but there was little sparkle to his performance. He played a selection of the most boring and overplayed music of the era – which reinforced the negative comments we had experienced in the earlier bars.
Gradually the building began to fill with mature and well-dressed customers. Bar service was good, and all drinks were 50p before 11pm, which caused some people to hoard, but as most people did not arrive until 11.30 and later, the discount had little impact on the vast majority of those attending.
The toilets were dreadful, and with the complete absence of a cleaner. Cubicle doors were broken, locks were missing, tiles cracked and/or damaged, and damp patches on the ceiling.
When we spoke to some of the other customers it was apparent that most of them were from outside of the Wakefield area, and were either on business, or training courses. With Buzz being the only main stream late night club open, and the attraction of a 1970s night, they had decided to give it a “go”.
Locarno Boy Note – we had visited Buzz on an earlier weekend night, but did not take notes, although we remember a great section of differing music styles in different rooms, plus a friendly and switched on management team – who were highly regarded by the licencing authorities.
We were particularly impressed on that occasion by the 50s room, which was full of young people dancing to their “parents” music, although we suspected that if the parents did come along the young people would quickly scarper.
Image from localdatasearch.com