The Garage in Islington relaunches after extensive refurbishment
Highbury’s legendary live music venue, The Garage, is reopening this spring with a sleek new look and three new spaces designed to appeal to the hardcore gig-goer and the casual passerby alike. No longer the sticky-floored and grotty locale that has been reeling in the crowds since the early 90s, The Garage now hosts The General Store, an all-day café serving coffee, craft beers, and cocktails, as well as its two revamped club spaces, The Garage itself on the first floor and the smaller Thousand Island room at the top of the building.
The General Store opens onto the Holloway Road with a smart pale green storefront, and is designed to draw in the local crowds looking for coffee, snacks or evening drinks. The aesthetic leans in the direction of a vintage soda shop, with tiles that look like they came from a 1960s bathroom, comfortable leather booths and stools where you can perch in the window and do a bit of people watching. There’s a decent selection of craft beers and some slightly gimmicky cocktails; the Electric Lemonade is bright turquoise and comes in a large upside-down light bulb – it looks more interesting than it tastes. The General Store Soup, which arrives in a Campbell’s-style soup can, might be pushing it a bit far. Nonetheless, the coffee is legitimately good and it’s a pleasant place to hang out for a beer.
The main live music space, The Garage, has been smartly done out with new floors, a new bar at the back, and an overhauled sound system. It’s all rather pristine and polished at the moment, but with gigs lined up almost every day as the spring goes on, it should get back some of its old grittiness in no time. A more striking refurbishment has taken place in the 150-capacity room upstairs, now going by the name Thousand Island and decked out with some blindingly shiny tin-foil walls and an impressive number of pink glitter balls. With its glitzy, cheesy charm, Thousand Island will play host to upcoming artists as well as club nights and socials.
Although its timeworn griminess may have appealed to the crowds who have poured in to see Britpop legends and hundreds of other live acts since the early 90s, The Garage’s new incarnation promises to appeal to everyone, and we’re glad to welcome it back.
Photos: Oksana Dotsenko
For further information about The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner London N5 1RD, call 020 7619 6720 or visit here.