Britain’s Best Small Venues: Get To Know The Shortlist (Newcastle, London, Hebden Bridge)

In this year’s search for Britain’s Best Small Venue in association with Jack Daniel’s, you voted in your thousands to shortlist 11 awesome venues across the UK. There’s not long left to cast your final vote and have your say in who should be crowned the ultimate best small venue in Britain, we hear why the venues have such a special place in the hearts of some of the bands who’ve played them. Find out more about Newcastle Think Tank, London Sebright Arms and Hebden Bridge Trades Club below, and check back tomorrow to read more about the final venues on the shortlist.

Think Tank
Capacity: 600
Opened: 2013
Recent Gigs: Interpol, Deap Vally, Skaters, Jaws
Big Moment: “When Royal Blood played to about 12 people. It’s amazing to be there before it all kicks off.” Stephen Davis, owner

Jaws say: “The Think Tank in Newcastle is one of my favourite venues in the UK. We just played there on our recent tour and it was wild. Geordies are always up for it – it was stage dives from the first note. I think we’ve played there three times in total – I remember when the stage was literally bits of plywood nailed together. I feel like I’ve watched the place grow up. You only have to look at the bands playing there to see how great the venue has become.”


Sebright Arms
Capacity: 150
Opened: 2011
Recent Gigs: Parquet Courts, The Orwells, Darlia, Courtney Barnett
Big Moment: “The Lumineers played two shows here in one day. One in the venue and then another one upstairs in the pub, on our old piano.” Loretta De Feo, events manager

Swim Deep say: “We played our first London headline show at Sebright Arms. The night is etched into our minds. The supports that night were Temples and Wolf Alice – what a line up. It was so hot in there that night, it was like playing on the sun. We filled the venue with piñatas full of £100 worth of Haribo. Our van got robbed outside but even that couldn’t put a dampener on what was one of the most fun shows we’ve ever played.”

The Trades Club
Hebden Bridge
Capacity: 200
Opened: 1984
Recent Gigs: Acid Mothers Temple, Pins, Jimi Goodwin, Temples
Big Moment: “Patti Smith played her most intimate UK show in years back in 2012. The show was already booked when the town was flooded by storms – twice. Patti donated her fee to the town’s flood fund. So not just an amazing, emotional show – she also gave the town a real helping hand.” Mal Campbell, promotions manager

Pins say: “The Trades Club is one of those old gems with the same bathrooms it had 50 years ago and in the bar you might find some of the clientele from back then too. It’s full of carefree music lovers with a kitchen making some of the best veggie food I’ve ever had. When we played there we had teenagers and elderly ladies dancing to ‘Girls Like Us’. A unique and perfect venue and the whole night they treated us like superstars.”

Play with heart. Drink with care.

Drink Aware


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