Can you believe it's 30 years since Sunderland nightclub Chambers opened?

Thirty years ago this month, a new addition to the Wearside nightclub scene opened.

Thursday, 19th October 2017, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:25 am
Chambers pictured in 1987.

In the impressive setting of Hutchinson’s Buildings, Chambers was unveiled - and it was hailed at the time as “Sunderland’s newest and most opulent nightclub and brasserie”.

The Echo’s headline in October 1987 read ‘Modern Day Comfort With Old-fashioned Elegance’.

A look inside Chambers.

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Were you there for the grand opening of the High Street venue? It certainly made an impression with its mix of the traditional and the brand, spanking new.

All the original lobby, mouldings and tiles were still there from the days when Hutchinson’s Buildings first welcomed tenants in 1851.

In fact, the ornate surroundings had been restored to their former glory to welcome the latest night scene destination. There was a new addition, though.

‘The interior is bedecked with the latest gadgetry of today’s hi-tech world.”

A look inside Chambers.

On the ground floor, said the Echo, “there was a continental-style brasserie.”

It was the only one in Sunderland and served meals, snacks and drinks from early morning until ‘very late at night’.

Our reporter at the time said: “With its Chesterfields, billiard room lights and 7ft Kenyan palms, it has about it the air of a gentlemen’s club.”

Chambers stayed on the Sunderland scene until 2002, when it closed.

It became the first club in Sunderland to broadcast live on a radio station, when it shared its music with Kiss FM.

It also gave top DJs Judge Jules, Danny Rampling, Alex P, Brandon Block, Graeme Park and Farley Jackmaster Funk their Sunderland debuts.

Back in 1987, it was brand spanking new. On the first floor, there was a disco with two dance floors, three bars, a computerised lighting console with lasers and smoke jets ,and the latest in sophisticated sound systems.

John Banwell spoke to the Echo at the time. He was the man who had opened Chambers after four years’ work.

He said at the time: “We are trying to offer Sunderland something it has never had before: a nightclub and restaurant complex on a par with London and the major cities.”

Within no time at all, clubbers were flocking there in their thousands to dance the night away to the likes of Adamski, Garbage and The Prodigy.

Mr Banwell, speaking back in 1987, added: “In Sunderland you have restaurants and wine bars and pubs and discos, but this is all those rolled into one.

“Award-winning London designers have been employed to help create our interior, and combined with our expertise we believe Chambers will have its own special atmosphere and represents the most interesting venue in Sunderland for nearly 20 years.”

It certainly created interest and not just in music, if our original story was anything to go by.

The brasserie was open until 2am and serving everything from pasta to panackilty – “a cosmopolitan mix of meals.”

Our report added: “So if you want to stay out on the town after 10.30pm and wish to continue drinking, you don’t have to go to a restaurant or a noisy disco.

“But if it is music and dancing you are looking for, the disco is open five nights a week.”

Perhaps you remember some of Chambers’ more quirky elements. It had its supervised car park at the new Bridge House complex in Bedford Street.

And as a reminder of the days when the building was used as legal chambers, there was a gallery recessed in the disco roof.

On the gallery – and looking down at the dancers – there were three mannequins dressed as judges.

But what are your memories of Chambers and what did you love about the place?

Or perhaps there is another Sunderland nightspot you would like us to remember?

Whatever your reason for getting in touch, make sure you email [email protected] to share your memories of nights out in a bygone Wearside age.