The Edge team have got together an created an essential entertainment guide for all new students!
The Best of Southampton’s Live Venues
1. The Joiners Arms
Locally known as The Joiners, this is undoubtedly Southampton’s most famous live music venue. Located in St Marys, it was voted Britain’s best small venue of 2013. With walls that are adorned with posters and bill lists from many a famous face, it has hosted numerous big names before they’ve hit the big time, including Oasis, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys and The Verve. This small an intimate venue also plays host to local talent with a variety of acts every week and battle of the bands competitions. Occasionally you’ll find gigs at The Joiners held at it’s sister venue, nightclub Unit, located on St. Mary’s Street.
2. The Talking Heads
The Talking Heads is located on Portswood Road and showcases live music every day of the week. It is the number one place to catch a new local band, or the occasional touring artist. The Talking Heads is home to Southampton’s oldest open mic night, the Candle Club, which is held every Monday and is completely free of charge to participate in. It is also a favourite with local promoters to host regular battle of the band competitions for emerging musicians.
3. The Cellar
The Cellar is located right in the heart of Southampton, next to the civic centre. During the day it is an inviting place to grab a slice of homemade cake and a cup of coffee. By night, The Cellar holds a variety of events, including dub, soul, indie and swing nights. In recent years it also has become synonymous with the electronic music scene. Also hosting live music from local bands, The Cellar is definitely worth checking out for its versatility.
4. Avondale House
Located in Carleton Place, if you are into pop punk, math rock, post-hardcore or experimental, this is the place for you. With cheap drinks on a Thursday and various different events throughout the week, Avondale is a great place to start your night, before heading to the various nightclubs in nearby Bedford Place.
5. The Hobbit
Perhaps Southampton’s most famous pub, The Hobbit is known for its lively atmosphere, fantastic open mic nights and of course it’s legendary Lord of the Rings themed cocktails. Located on Bevois Valley Road, right in the heart of Southampton’s student nightclubs, The Hobbit is always a stop en-route to Jesters or Sobar. The Hobbit is open late into the night and has easily the biggest beer garden in the city. Playing host to mainly acoustic acts on Mondays and Thursday, things get a little louder with live music every Friday and Saturday.
Located at the top of Bevois Valley, on Onslow Road, Lennons is a must for all indie and alternative fans. Although it looks rather unassuming from the outside, the inside is modern and the atmosphere is electric. It is home to various themed nights including Jukebox Thursdays, indie, soul and sixties rock and roll on Fridays and Club Psychedelia on Saturdays. Lennons also hosts many touring artists, including some who love it so much that they will ensure it is a destination on their tour. These artists are generally of the indie/alternative genre and are always supported by up and coming local bands.
1. The Brook
Located just up the road from The Talking Heads is The Brook. The Brook hosts regular music events, mainly the south coast’s finest cover bands, with the occasional touring artist or local act. With a different event every night of the week, The Brook is definitely worth checking out and offers something a little quirkier than Southampton’s other live venues.
2. Orange Rooms
Orange Rooms is a nightclub located in the heart of Bedford Place. What most students don’t know, is that it hosts many live acts during the week. Monday Night Blues, Southampton’s most popular and celebrated open mic night, is hosted at the venue. In addition, Mixtape Friday’s showcase a variety of hiphop, house, bass and reggae. The club also hosts other dedicated student nights, complete with deals on drinks, so there’s never really a dull night at Orange Rooms.
3. Platform Tavern
Platform Tavern is a pub/restaurant sat in the old city walls. Lying right near the waterfront, close to the Isle of Wight ferry terminal, it is some way from the other live venues. That being said, it has drawn in some great acts over the years, especially focusing on blues and roots. The bill list is packed every week with various events all for free. And if that wasn’t enough, the food is great.
4. The Bent Brief
The Bent Brief is a pub located on Lodge Road in Portswood. The pub has been run by the same couple for nine years and has a usual host of regulars. The eclectic range of music reflects the taste of the owners from opera to jazz and there is a different live event every night. With reasonably priced drinks, this venue is perfect for those with a varied taste in music who prefer the intimacy of a smaller and local venue
5. The Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree is a pub/live venue located in the Northam area of Southampton. Though perhaps not an area of the city students tend to find themselves in, a trip to The Joshua Tree can be highly recommended. One of the more tranquil live venues, it offers various music events throughout the month as well as an open mic night every Sunday.
Mo’Club is Southampton’s very own roller disco. However when not filled with roller skates it also hosts a brilliant set of live gigs, mainly featuring bands of a more metal/hardcore genre. Bands have come from as far as the USA and Canada to play at the venue and it has even played host to acts such as Skindred. Though it is not a frequent live event venue, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on upcoming acts who may be making an appearance.
The best of Theatre and Comedy
1. The Laughter Lounge at The Bridge
If you like comedy, then you are in luck – every other Thursday The Bridge, handily located in SUSU’s main building, hosts The Laughter Lounge. You can catch both up and coming talent and some great well established comedians for a great price right on your door step. Comedians who have graced the stage in The Bridge include Seann Walsh and Charlie Baker. Even if you don’t recognise their names, the likelihood is you will recognise their faces – the Laughter Lounge team does a great job of booking fantastic acts.
To top it off, there are some great food and drink deals on the night as well. Definitely worth checking out, The Laughter Lounge is a great chance to have a more chilled out evening, filled with laughter.
2. The Annex
Southampton has some great theatre venues – The Nuffield on campus being one. However some of the best theatre and comedy comes from the University’s own students. Performing Arts groups perform their productions in The Annex theatre and they are first class. With the wide range of performing arts groups at the University, you are spoiled for choice as to what to watch. This year Theatre Group are performing Let the Right One In, an original show called The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers and Romeo and Juliet, all in the first term! If you are a fan of musical theatre then the Showstoppers’ freshers show, Grease, will be for you. If you like comedy then you can see some fantastic sketch and improv shows, courtesy of Comedy Soc – their last three shows have earned five star ratings!
3. The Nuffield
The Nuffield Theatre is a top class theatre venue and is conveniently situated right on campus. With both in-house productions and touring theatre companies, The Nuffield theatre gives you great variety. This year, shows coming to The Nuffield include Othello, a production of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and The Hudsucker Proxy. One of the Nuffield’s original productions, A Number, is making the move to the Young Vic theatre in London, which speaks of the calibre of the productions that The Nuffield produces.
Recently, the theatre announced that veteran actors Tom Hiddlestone, Celia Imrie, Laura Carmichael and Samantha Bond will be joining the creative team this year, as the theatre, under its new leadership, goes from strength to strength. I would encourage everyone to visit this first class venue at least once in their time at Southampton University.
4. The Mayflower Theatre
The Mayflower Theatre is closer to the centre of the city (right next to the new Mayflower Halls of Residence) and is a great venue, particularly if you are a fan of musicals. Many touring productions take a stop in Southampton at The Mayflower, which means that you don’t need to take a trip to London to take in a great show.
This year alone, The Mayflower has hosted The Lion King, One Man, Two Guvnors, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, West Side Story and Evita. Wicked comes to the theatre in October and November. The theatre not only hosts musicals, but also ballet, theatre, opera and comedy, which means that there is something for every culture lover.