While Pierre van Hoojidonk and Kevin Campbell were firing Nottingham Forest toward promotion to the Premier League and the charts were enjoying the battle between Cornershop and Run DMC and Jason Nevins for the Singles Chart Number 1, Jason Whittle was planning a different sort of playlist as he opened the doors to Foremans Punk Bar for the first time.
Now Foremans bright yellow facade faces out toward the Cornerhouse, ut in 1998 the bar faced an old office building, soon to be torn down to be replaced by a new leisure and retail complex.
As the stalled Broad Marsh programme has shown, developments of this scale can be bad news for local businesses – but Foremans remains a fluorescent reminder of the spirit of punk and independent business.
While a number of businesses have tried their hand at success on Forman Street, Foremans has endured – whether the country was in the grip of recession, World Cup heartbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic, completely unpredictable weather or rowdy, infamous or multicoloured customers, the bar has opened its doors, played its unique brand of music in the heart of the city centre and poured, sold and occasionally re-seen a unique range of drinks.
As the oldest independent bar in the city enters its 25th year, Jason shows no sign of letting up.
Since 2013 and thanks to a change in licensing laws, the bar has hosted a regular gigs programme, with artists such as Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Rick Buckler from the Jam and Henry Cluney of the Stiff Little Fingers, and many more performing their sets to a capacity crowd of 55. The bar continues to draw in new acts, customers and stories.