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Favourite Venues – The Borderline, Soho

Catherine May


Tucked away opposite Foyles is this gem of a venue. It’s got that Western bar feel to it and as soon as you enter down stairs you can see the faces of some musical greats smiling back at you. I remember the first time I went there my friend saw a photo of Sheryl Crow which she, the child of a huge Crow fan, just had to have her photo taken in front of.

Downstairs you are greeted with an incredibly small stage, a bar complete with bar stools for the audience to sit on with great views and a random collection of picnic benches at the back. I love this venue for its old-school bar feel.

Nowadays you’re less likely to catch the likes of Sheryl Crow there, but it’s often chosen as a venue for up and coming acts and less known international artists. Last summer I went there three nights in a row to see Pete Murray (I’m a bit of a fan) and was completely charmed by it. The intimacy of it is matched with a welcoming atmosphere meaning that audience members can find themselves intermingling and stage banter is almost guaranteed.

It’s coming up to a year since I last paid a visit to The Borderline. It was a few days before Christmas last year and snow was turning to ice all around. Plans to drive into London had been scuppered and I remember getting on a very empty train into a similarly sparse city. The venue was nowhere near full capacity but that didn’t matter. In fact, when the artist we’d ventured in to see, Kate Miller-Heidke, arrived on stage, we stayed sat on the ground, sporadically standing up to dance. We were thanked for making the journey in several times and the venue kept us warm and cosy for a while after the set had finished.

The charm of this venue lies with the fact that it’s an oasis of cosiness and warmth in the more flamboyant neighbourhood of Soho. It allows for ample choice of pre-dining and you’re never going to be stuck for choice searching for somewhere to continue the party after the show.

Artists playing soon there over the next few months include Emma’s Imagination, Nell Bryden and Lauren Pritchard. It certainly is an inspired setting to enjoy new talent.