When I first arrived on the scene at Brewhouse and Kitchen in Cotham, Bristol, it didn't strike me as a music venue. Lewis Clark and the Essentials were supposed to be doing an album launch, but I thought I'd just stumbled into any classic old restaurant. While the venue was a little surprising as I couldn't see a stage area, I was informed that the band would actually be playing upstairs.
Cool, I thought, a function room. That's better. Being acquainted with the singer of the band, I was told that he'd asked for signs and directions to be put out (the room isn't in the most obvious place) but they had ignored this. This caused him to worry about turn out- they'd had 60 people at their last gig and expectations were high.
When I got upstairs, the scene was delightful. A small, cosy room with its own bar (albeit unusable) and an area for the band to perform. With any luck, the music would carry downstairs and attract more of an audience. With their album playing on a record player in the background, the small audience including friends and family was eager. After a while, they started, and the sound was big.
Folksy, bluesy, gypsy-eque... Their style was hard to describe, but it seemed to fit the venue perfectly. We were able to eat rustic pub chips and listen to a great band on a Sunday afternoon. I was almost taken back in time or transported to some kind of delightful fantasy novel.
What I see in this place as a pub is great- good food, friendly service, warm atmosphere, all the good things. What I see in it as a venue is somewhat less positive. It has great potential. Perhaps if they had taken the singer's signs and posted them about, more people would have discovered their lively music. Perhaps if the bar upstairs had been opened, more punters would have arrived. But, these things cost money. Lewis Clark and the Essentials had only intended it to be a small-time gig, hoping for a few people, and it was what they got.
The service was good, food good, but what sold me the most was the atmosphere. But perhaps hold your gigs downstairs from now on?