NORTHERN EXPOSURE

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Far off venues are an integral part of clubbing and the most memorable times are often had after piling into a car and heading off for new surroundings. The success of Ibiza highlights our willingness to travel for kicks, yet how many Londoners have hit the motorway to visit Cream in Liverpool or Birmingham's Moneypenny's?

This week we focus on the city of steel. Sheffield has a vast student population (between 13,000 and 15,000) and, thanks to excellent Student Unions, contains plenty of innovative events at reasonable prices. Unfortunately there is a limit to the amount of cheap beer you can drink, so if you want to experience the real flava of Sheffield's club scene there are plenty of venues to check off your list.

Gatecrasher, at Republic, seems to have found a home after leaving two different venues. The Republic is big enough (1,320 capacity) to create any clubbing fantasy.

"We wanted to create a good quality night with no expense spared," says Gatecrasher promoter and DJ Scott Bond. "We started at the Arches in Sheffield before moving to the Adelphi, but we outgrew the venue and decided to move to the Republic."

Visitors can enjoy three rooms of music presented by the UK's finest DJs. The main room plays hard/ trancey beats while the two remaining rooms showcase uplifting anthems and disco/funk classics.

Gatecrasher is famous for presenting interior aesthetics with a difference and, by investing as much thought in the surroundings as the DJ line-up, offer a clubbing fantasy. In addition to an impressive DJ rotation, new residents (Miles Holloway, Elliot Eastwick and Ralph Lawson join up in '98) and regular interior changes, check out the scented smoke.

No detail seems too small so patrons have to prove they've used similar levels of effort on their appearance before gaining entry.

"I DJ all over the country and clubbing in Sheffield is quite distinctive," says Bond. "Clubbers here are filled with a different kind of passion. They party like it's the best thing in their lives so we try and give them value for money."

As the city council issue more late licences Sheffield is fast becoming a 24-hour haven for insomniacs. Many bars provide interesting alternatives to mainstream clubs: venues such as Nysushi offer house and bass-driven loops alongside PlayStations, noodle bar and a Japanese photo slicker machine.

If you want variety then visit Leadmills which has been trying to please all of the people, all of the time for some years now.

The Leadmill never seems to close and offers live music (from some of the most renowned bands in the world) one night, followed by hard house the next. Two of its most successful nights are Rise (housey loops) on Friday and Joyrider (indie grooves) on Saturday.

The venue changes design every night to match the genre of music, boasts two dance floors, three bars and, with no harsh dress-code, attracts a strong student following.

"We have lots of dressy people but we try not to put too much emphasis on being overly dressed," says Watkins. "After a hard day's work, the last thing you want to do is get dressed up to the nines.

"You never know what you're going to find in this city which can be quite exciting. At Leadmills we work hard on safety and staff courtesy so you can enjoy the excitement and complete escapism."

Gatecrasher: Saturdays @ The Republic, Arundel Street, Sheffield S1 (0115-912 9174) 10pm-6am pounds 10/pounds 12.

Nysushi: Saturdays @ The Music Factory, London Road, Sheffield S1 (0114- 267 1869) 10pm-3am pounds 6/pounds 8.

Leadmills, 6-7 Leadmill Road, Sheffield, S1 (0114 221 2859) telephone to confirm weekly listings

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