The Smithy was a significant part of the Bradford music pub scene and had been since around the mid-1980s. It was very much punk and alternative in contrast with the rock/metal vibe of other pubs of the era such as The Wheatsheaf. I preferred this as it was probably much more inclusive and attracted people from many walks of life. I first discovered the place in the very early 1990s. It was a part of the circuit on many a night out but it was in the latter half of 1995 when I adopted it as my regular watering hole. The landlord at the time was called Gavin and he gave me my first break as a DJ. I can’t quite recall whether it was 1995 or 1996 but he gave me Thursday nights to play with for a time. I was still cutting my teeth but the (often older) customers were very good with me and I learned much about playing different genres, not limiting myself to one sound. It was certainly an education.
These nights continued until the pub finally closed its doors in April 1996. Sunwin House who owned much of the land around it at the time had purchased the whole street in order to demolish the buildings and expand the car park. Years later, all traces of the whole street (Southgate) disappeared as the Jurys Inn hotel was build on top of it.
We had immense fun in The Smithy and were very sad to see it go. It was a small place but still hosted the odd live band and we even managed to play there a couple of times as Dawnraiser. I look back upon the Smithy days with a great fondness and I met many lifelong friends there. It wasn’t the first venue I frequented by any means but it was the first one with which I was in some way involved.