Popular Sheffield venue Night Kitchen reborn as Fewer Than One
From the ashes of The Night Kitchen rises a new nightlife destination, Fewer Than One, bringing a rejuvenated look to the famed venue along with a diverse events programme to provide a safe, welcoming space for all.
In 2017, the news that iconic underground clubbing destination The Night Kitchen would be closing its doors for good was met with widespread dismay from the city’s arts and nightlife community.
Originally operating under the name Dirty Little Secret (DLS), the venue, situated at a former cutlery works in Shalesmoor, became synonymous with the Steel City’s most legendary nights and regularly hosted some of the hottest names in electronic music behind the decks.
The venture served as a joint-project between DLS and CADS (Creative Arts Development Space), which saw on-site studios rented out to a vibrant mix of artists and musicians, developing and nurturing the building’s potential as a hub of local innovation while continuing to host some of the country’s best warehouse parties.
DLS was replaced by The Night Kitchen in 2014, and for the following five years continued to welcome thousands of partygoers through its doors, establishing itself in its final years as a firm favourite with the city’s student population before a pre-existing landlord agreement saw TNK brought to the end of an era, hosting a final hurrah on NYE 2019.
It then seemed like that was that for the historic Smithfield site; its labyrinthine corridors, multiple rooms and studio spaces which held so many memories looked set for some bland redevelopment while the Sheffield nightlife scene reeled from a hefty blow.
But, as it turns out, there’s life in the old rave spot yet and an exciting journey is again underway at the venue. Dirty Little Secret event manager Stevie Day has taken it over under new management as Fewer Than One (<1) and following a gruelling but impressive refurbishment, the regenerated space will be opening with an August bank holiday bash running from 4pm-5am on Saturday 28th August.
“We’ll be showcasing a range of styles across the building to create a festival-type atmosphere; the daytime stuff will feature live music, laidback 4×4, hip-hop and street food before the night-time goes into drum & bass in Room 1, then all things chunky and acid in Room 2.”
Take a stroll through the refurbed venue and you’ll see a significant transformation. The main courtyard has been cleared out, replaced with upcycled seating, plants, and a new mural decorating the far wall with the words ‘FAIL WE MAY SAIL WE MUST’ – a tribute to Stevie’s musical hero, the late DJ, musician and producer Andy Weatherall. The bottom courtyard looks particularly resplendent, decorated with hanging baskets and blooming flowers, and is shared space with Gut Level – a DIY event space and collective focusing on music and club culture who give a platform to underrepresented groups in the industry.
“It’s been a real effort getting things back up to scratch,” says Stevie, “but we’ve really started to see the progress now. The studios have filled up nicely and you can hear and see all the different artists, bands and producers milling around; the community vibe has returned and it’s great to see.”
Just a few of the occupants currently residing among the 30 studio spaces include diverse audio/visual platform Mondo Radio, Afro-psychedelia group ONIPA, recording studio Neighbourhood Studios, bassline artist K:Dot, hip-hop artist Franz Von, and digital production agency Madbox Creative. It’s all part of the vision to turn Fewer Than One into a multi-purpose venue, or, as Stevie puts it, “nurture a place for a wide range of clientele, one where as many people as possible can come in and make something out of the space.”
The studios have filled up nicely and you can hear and see all the different artists, bands and producers milling around; the community vibe has returned and it’s great to see
Feeding into this philosophy, <1 have made a commitment to promoting wider representation with their events. This means moving away from the largely white, male-dominated lineups all too often associated with electronic music, working with the resident artists and local promoters in favour of promoting a wider range of genres, hosting a diverse programme of events, and fundamentally creating a venue where people of all ages and groups can feel safe and represented.
Definitely watch this space, Sheffield…