Legendary Chesterfield rock bar and ‘sanctuary for the alternative’ the Green Room set to resurface for 2021 reunion

Nights out in Chesterfield, remember those?

Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:05 pm

They’ve been few and far between over the last year, thanks to our friend the pandemic.

But what will the nightlife hold in store for Chesterfield once restrictions finally lift?

One thing is for certain, it’ll be a far cry from those wild nights enjoyed at the Green Room in the 2000s.

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Gemma Jones: "Soggy jeans and raging hangovers all round!"
Gemma Jones: "Soggy jeans and raging hangovers all round!"

Unassuming to look at from the outside, in the heart of Chesterfield, the rock bar wasn’t ‘the best maintained’ to ‘put it politely’.

The floor was sticky as flypaper, the men’s toilets would notoriously often flood.

Revellers would saunter off arm-in-arm into the night smothered in what became known as the Green Room Grunge- ‘fag ash, beer and worse’.

But in the Green Room- no matter how you dressed, what music you listened to or what circles you ran in- you were accepted.

Green Room staff after revellers had gone home, by Craig Elder.

Those who went through their teenage years in the 1990s and 2000s will probably still flinch at the infamous goth/chav divide that plagued young people at the time.

It often left kids who were ‘a bit different’ struggling to find nighttime haunts where they could be themselves and listen to their heavy metal albums without trepidation or, to be more frank, getting punched.

The Green Room fulfilled that burning need and saved them a train ride over to the Corporation club in Sheffield.

It was much more than a just pub, or a small live music venue- it became the town’s sanctuary for the alternative.

Happy times at the Green Room, by Christopher Shortland.

A former Green Room goer said: “There was a strong smell of ‘herbal’ cigarettes, but it was always an amazing night with fab and friendly people.

"My mum said you would never meet the man of your dreams in the Green Room, she was right of course.”

Now fellow regulars Dani, Stacey and Shannon are looking to bring the Green Room ricocheting back onto the Chesterfield night scene.

Their friendship is one of the many thousands of everlasting connections formed at the Green Room, around 15 years ago.

John Parker said: "To say l spent the best part of ten years in the place (quite literally?!), I only seem to have one photo to share!! Great times!!!"

"It was a strange place because you could go on your own and you’d have a friend there and just have this incredible night,” said Dani.

“I say strange because I have genuinely never known anywhere else like that.”

Their quest started in the height of the coronavirus lockdown when, in the throes of pandemic blues, Dani shared a picture of a night out at the Green Room pulled from MySpace.

"I put it on Facebook without really thinking and it sparked this huge convo between a lot of people who used to go there and have stayed in touch all these years,” said Dani.

“Stacey said oh my god, we need a group, and Shannon created one. We thought we’d get a few likes, but now have nearly 1,000 members.”

The group, Green Room Memories, is flooded with pictures of grinning groups of all ages enjoying the soirée.

Green Room provided a platform for local bands to do their thing. Pic by Jorge Santana.

Not a phone in sight, these were the glimmering work of digital and instant cameras, and most definitely discussed on MSN the morning after.

Open a nostalgic Spotify playlist set up by members and you’ll find the likes of Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, Hole and Billy Idol.

Shannon said: “I started going to the Green Room in 2006 but I have relatives who went there ten years before that.

“I worked at the Hobby Horse and went with my friend Billy after work one night. Didn’t get ID’d, got in, went ever since. Every night just rolled into one.

"It was somewhere you could go and never be judged, as long as you didn’t cause trouble.”

Chris Wood, who started working on the bar in 2000 and became manager two years later, said: “Working at the Green Room was more of a lifestyle than a job.

"You didn’t do it for the money, you did it because you loved the community. It was like a family.

"There was no ego, no cliques. Everyone just got on with each other. I never had another job like it.”

But it all came to a screeching halt in 2009 when, suddenly, the Green Room closed its doors for good.

The alternative community would be marking the birth of a new decade without their much-loved sanctum.

"I think it had been struggling for a bit and some dance nights were introduced with a new crowd coming in, in some last ditch attempt to save it,” said Stacey, who it turns out did meet the man of her dreams in the Green Room and is still with him to this day.

"But it still came as a huge shock to us. We were getting ready one night and got a call from someone on the bar saying, we’re not opening tonight, and they never opened again.

"It was heartbreaking. There were other rock nights at clubs and bars up and down Chesterfield, but none could match the atmosphere of the Green Room.”

But it is hoped that a Green Room reunion planned on August 28 at the County Music Bar, coronavirus permitting, will.

Chris added: “The County is the ideal place for the reunion as it has kind of picked up where the Green Room left off.

"I don’t understand why more former Green Room regulars don’t go there, as it definitely has a similar vibe.”

But ever so sadly, some won’t make it to the reunion.

Simon Catterall, a fellow Green Room regular, has been lovingly honoured on the Facebook group after he was killed by a speeding Audi driver on Saltergate in November 2019.

And recently another regular, Oz Tuplin, passed away suddenly. Family and friends said she was really excited about the reunion.

“We think it will be a good way to remember her and Si,” said Dani. "Many of us have been going through crap times- the pandemic, break ups and death.

"This is something for us all to focus on and look forward to, with generations of people all joining back together.”

You can find the group on Facebook here. Keep up to date with the planned reunion on the County Music Bar’s Facebook page.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Green Room memories
The Green Room
The Green Room
The Green Room