Creating a venue coveted by clubbers and musos alike is a tough ask, but 229 Venue may have cracked it as a clutch of DJs and top bands take turns to play different nights at this low key Great Portland Street club.
You almost tumble into 229 Venue as you exit Great Portland Street station – it’s that close. The entrance is at ground level, next to the International Students House. ISH also owns the club, and there's a distinct purpose-built, campus feel to the set of buildings.
As you move from the lobby area, a set of stairs takes you into the basement as you move into room one. At the top end, a stage stands fairly high off the ground, facing a long bar. This is a decent-sized space, but the clean, monotone decor feels stark. You get pretty much the same formula in a smaller second room, but this time there's a stage in the corner. Both rooms combine well to create ample space, for the 700-odd capacity.
The atmosphere in 229 Venue varies according to which night you go, but the vibe is generally easy going. The large space means that there is no crush, leaving enough room for you try out those unpolised dance moves. Entry prices aren’t absurdly high; so expect students, ex-students and the odd teacher stood at the back.
229 Venue gets away with putting on an array of club nights and gigs. The blank canvas feel allows both rooms to host live bands, DJs or both. Club nights range from soul & ska, to electro and rock. Live music nights are more indie.
Both rooms have decent sized bars and the staff are friendly enough.
Don't expect a full range of beers and spirits, but lagers and other standard tipples are reasonably priced.
The Last Word
229 Venue is a stripped down type of place, but add good sound and lighting and you begin to understand how this place works. The ethos is simple: you book good artists that pull in a crowd who know their music.