12 Bar Club

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Template:Infobox venue The 12 Bar Club is a music venue in London, England. It is located in Denmark Street, aka "Tin Pan Alley", just off Charing Cross Road and close to Soho.

The most famous acts to play at the 12 Bar before they reached a wider audience include Martha Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, KT Tunstall (all of whose first London dates were at the 12 Bar), Damien Rice, Regina Spektor, The Libertines, Keane, Seasick Steve and Jamie T. Jeff Buckley also played an impromptu set at the 12 Bar some time before the launch of his debut album 'Grace'.

Its name makes it sound like a blues club, but the 12 Bar does not feature one type of music. Though broadly 'indie' in nature, some nights feature country, folk, punk or even a mixture of styles.


The club's building was originally constructed in 1635 as a stable. It was later converted into a forge for the St. Giles area that was used until World War I. The fireplace from the forge is still visible at the rear of the stage and regularly houses the performers' guitar amplifiers. The building then became a carpenter's shop until shortly after World War II, when it was converted into store rooms.

During the Early 1990's, the building housed The Forge Folk & Blues Club, founded by Andy Preston who organised the performances and Nida Daniel who managed admissions and refreshments for customers.It was originally a social club and music venue for the staff at the guitar centre who used the original forge area at the back as an amplifier workshop - dust-sheets would be thrown over the amplifiers in the evening before the entertainment began.

In 1994, the club was expanded and renamed the 12 Bar Club. More recently, offices and a restaurant have been added. It was the brainchild of international businessman Lars Ericson and musician Phil Ryan. They approached lease holder Andy Preston, owner of the world famous Andy’s Guitars, and together they formed up to create and launch the club in 1994. The club was run by Phil Ryan who devised the music policy and booked a host of well-known names including Bert Jansch, Robyn Hitchcock, Nick Harper, The Albion Band, Steve Jones, Tom Russell, Peter Rowan and the Rowan brothers, Boo Hewerdine, Gordon Giltrap, Jonathon Kalb, Richard Mazda, Suzanne Chawner, Ian Crowther, Vince McCann, Will Kevans. Some of these named artists went on to promote their own nights featuring the best in up and coming artists. Under the guidance of Phil Ryan the club won the Time Out Best Music Venue in 2005 which Phil Ryan collected at Time Out headquarters. The clubs iconic status is now firmly sealed with Andy Lowe as promoter. It is a destination for many artists from around the world.

The 12 Bar is famous for its 2 level viewing arrangement despite its small size. A small 'balcony' section (allowing for 15 or 20 people) originally prevented those standing at the back on the ground level from seeing the heads of particularly tall band members. A refurbishment in 2006 corrected this problem by reducing the size of the balcony.

Notable performances

Bands and performers who have played at the 12 Bar after gaining more commercial success (sometimes playing 'secret' or late shows) include the Lene Lovich Band (who made their live debut at the club in 2012), Kristin Hersh, Pete Doherty, The Television Personalities and Robyn Hitchcock.

The venue is known for supporting independent promoters and less mainstream styles of music, notably hardcore punk and antifolk - the seasonal antifolk (UK) fest is held at the 12 Bar and many 'antifolk' style performers from both New York and England have played there, including Langhorne Slim, Jeffrey Lewis, Major Matt Mason, Curtis Eller, Thomas Truax and Filthy Pedro, either at the fests themselves or like-minded nights such as Joe 'Sgt Buzfuz' Murphy's monthly 'Blang' night.

Other bands such as Menace, The Bleach Boys, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lloyd Maines, Benjamin Shaw, Jack Hayter, Monkish, Andy WhiteTemplate:Disambiguation needed, Cud and Rhatigan, Terri Hendrix and Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera have also played at the 12 Bar Club.


It was awarded Live music Venue of the Year '95/'96 by Time Out magazine.



External links