Many of us have fond memories of heading here for our weekend getaway plans. With weekly club nights and regular gigs, O2 ABC was the place to go for a night out.
Long before it began its life as one of Glasgow’s top clubs, the building has served several purposes over the years.
Built and opened in 1875, the diorama offered viewers an experience not unlike going to an IMAX theater today, with detailed scenes and images projected onto a large circular dome ceiling. One of the most notable subjects was the Battle of Bannockburn.
Only ten years later it was converted into an indoor skating rink and then moved on to become the home of Circus Hengler. When circus events were not being shown, the building served as a cinema and, in the 20th century, was used as a dance hall.
The name ABC came about in 1929 when the ballroom was converted into a proper 2,359-capacity cinema, preserving its original features from over 50 years ago. The dance floor was used for booths, and guests entered using the double staircase, which has always remained.
For the next 70 years, ABC would show the latest flicks from its two locations, ABC 1 and 2, the latter being built in the 1960s to accommodate more moviegoers. It was also the first cinema in Scotland to open after the end of the Second World War.
The cinema closed in 1999, and would not find new life for another six years. Regular music mogul David McBride saw an opportunity to build up this size and historical value to turn it into a music space.
It reopened in 2005 after a multi-million pound investment and the Academy Music Group took over in 2009, thus renaming it 02 ABC.
Many of us remember walking out of a pub on Sauchiehall Street with our friends, and finding a vendor with tickets to Jellybaby on Thursdays, Propaganda Fridays, or Love Music on Saturdays — remember the names displayed in huge letters like in an old cinema? – and to be very happy to hand over a five.
In addition to its regular club nights, the party venue has hosted the likes of Adele, Some 41, Sam Smith, Arctic Monkees, Kasabian, and Paolo Nutini to name a few.
It was a devastating shock when, in June 2018, the building was badly damaged by a fire at the nearby Glasgow School of Art and forced out of use.
What’s your favorite memory on O2 ABC?
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