A historic nightlife site next to Gas Street Basin will spring back to life when the new Verve Lounge opens at noon tomorrow (Saturday, 3 February).
A VIP launch night yesterday (Thursday, 1 February) saw local businesses, influencers and party lovers re-entering the world of canalside fun experienced long ago by patrons of Bobby Brown and its predecessor The Opposite Lock.
Waiting to greet guests at the door were two futuristic dancing girls dressed in studded, figure-hugging black outfits with glitter-ball heads that resembled sci-fi movie Hollywood stars.
If their headgear rendered them speechless, so too were many of the people who admired their slinky moves which you can see in our video here.
The building was originally a former gun factory that later used as stables for the canal. The wider future of the whole premises will be guided by the success of Verve at ground level.
The new bar has a capacity of 250 and admission is free to a world of inventive cocktails, wines, prosecco, champagne, beers, soft drinks, teas and coffees.
Verve will also include live DJ sets and house music nights, with an intimate dance floor and seating booths for small parties to enjoy each other’s company around tables with views of the canal.
An outdoor heated terrace will open in the summer but it’s the unseen treasures of the past that hint at an even more exciting future.
Taking Westside World on a tour of the building, launch manager Reece Chauhan said the overall plan was to use Verve Lounge as the springboard for funding the development of the rest of the site in phases, giving each additional part a new name.
One idea is to create a permanent VIP area upstairs, where there are currently a series of interconnected rooms currently piled up with the remnants of their previous lives. Even in near darkness, it’s still possible to recall the shape of the old Opposite Lock room.
Our exclusive pictures hint of what might be to come seen through the prism of what’s already been. Older clubbers might remember a bookcase bar, for example.
And, next to some still unopened bottles of Moet champagne, there’s a wonderfully-dated sign for the ‘Club Burlesque’.
In a city that’s hosted everything from Mothers to the Cedar Club, Rum Runner and the Click Club at Burberries, these little insights into clubland culture could be almost as valuable as Egyptian relics.
Reece Chauhan said: “Verve Lounge is not just a bar, it’s a lifestyle. We wanted to create a space where people can escape the ordinary and immerse themselves in a world of cultural comforts, taste, and entertainment.”
Beers are priced from £5.55 to £6.60 per pint, including Camden Hells Lager and Pale Ale, and Goose Island Today’s Haze IPA.
Cocktails include Original Gangster at £12.50 (Four Rose Burbon, Amontullado Sherry, Martini Rubino and Sugar Syrup) Tropical Rumble at £9.95 (spiced rum, lime, ice and a can of Tropical Red Bull).
Wines include I Castelli Pinot Grigio delle Venezia D.O.C. (£7.40 for 175ml), Via Alta Chardonnay Reserve (bottle only, £27.50) and La Gioiosa prosecco at £22.95 per bottle.
Champagne ranges from £75 for Moet & Chandon Imperial to £145 for the Laurent-Perrier Rose.
Verve Lounge is at 52 Gas Street, just past Pierre Victoire and close to the Wonders of Westside 2024 prize-winning Sri Lankan restaurant The Coconut Tree.
Opening hours: Wednesday 3 to 11pm; Thursday 3pm to midnight; Friday noon to 1am; Saturday noon to 2am; Sunday noon to midnight. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Visit vervelounge.co.uk, call 0121 643 9888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All pictures and video by Graham Young.