Promising a “modern day pub experience built on traditional values”, one of the UK’s most innovative venue operators, The East London Pub Co., has brought fresh inspiration to two equally historic but radically different London venues, The Lock Tavern in Camden and The Gun in Spitalfields.
Famous as the home of early gigs by the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse and Franz Ferdinand amongst others, The Lock Tavern is counted among the British capital’s best loved grassroots music venues. Meanwhile, sitting in the heart of the famous East End market district of Spitalfields, The Gun is a beloved local institution that first opened its doors in 1929. Both venues are now enjoying a renaissance courtesy of fast-rising London-based sound installation specialist Flipside, and powerful sound reinforcement systems by TW AUDiO.
Formed in 2014, The East London Pub Co. has quickly earned a reputation for bringing new life to classic venues whilst retaining the spirit of the original location. In the case of The Lock Tavern and The Gun, that philosophy prompted a bold but respectful approach from the team at Flipside – another young company known for its creativity.
“The Lock Tavern is a great venue – one of my favourites out of the whole group,” enthused East London Pub Co. co-founder, Bradley Lomas. “It’s a venue with such rich heritage and history and of course it’s been very big on the music scene. In projects like this the quality of the sound system can often be overlooked but we wanted to create a space that would be great for up and coming artists and bands – for people to be able to use that space better and to enjoy having a really high quality sound system.”
Working closely with TW AUDiO UK, Flipside delivered on all expectations. Formed six years ago by two lifelong friends with a background in dance music, the company prides itself on taking a deeply personal approach to projects. “We dedicate ourselves to working in small to medium sized installs,” explains co-founder James Cooper. “Our focus is on providing excellent service to a customer base which is not necessarily looked after so well by the more traditional industry. The projects and customers who fall through the gaps – they’re our people, and it means we can be entirely honest and deliver the technology that we know is ideal for each project.”
On working with The East London Pub Co., Cooper adds: “It was great working with Bradley from the get-go, because he was very clear cut and very easy to work with. He had a very clear vision for both projects and he cares a lot about good quality audio.”
All live music at The Lock Tavern takes place upstairs in an intimate space now served by four compact but powerful M8i enclosures. “We needed something that would offer great performance, that was essential,” says Cooper. “The M8i is a phenomenal box for what it can do in a pretty small format.” Low-end extension is delivered by a single B14i subwoofer – enough to cope with the most demanding of gigs or dance nights. “The B14i is fantastic,” enthuses Cooper. “It’s built in under the stage and it really fills the room.”
The Gun has arguably played an even more pivotal role in its local area. Named after Henry VIII’s artillery ground, it has long been a gathering place for market traders, as well as a popular haunt of service men and women during the war years. Today it still plays host to a diverse mix of people, from tourists to traders and city professionals to locals enjoying the continuous regeneration of East London. “Music is really important in the venue, with different kinds of music at various different times of day,” says Lomas.
The venue has been entirely transformed as part of a £2.2m refurbishment, including the powerful TW AUDiO system suspended behind the bar. “For The Gun, we upscaled from M8is to two T20is, which are absolutely rocking the venue,” says Cooper. “Plus we have two B14i subs which fit nicely under a single sofa! One B14i sounds huge, but if you put two together it sounds even bigger. The system is amazing in that space.”
With both projects now completed, both The East London Pub Co and Flipside are delighted with the results, and looking forward to potential future collaborations. “Working with James and Flipside has been phenomenal,” says Lomas. “I understood what I wanted to deliver but he’s been able to take my brief and really make it happen. I’ve had people from all over the music scene contacting me to ask how we got the venues to sound so good.”
“I’m really proud of the work we’ve done in both venues,” concludes Cooper. “They are jewels in the crown for Flipside and I’m very proud of the relationship we’ve got with the East London Pub Co. At Flipside, we have a lot of respect for the brands that are out there but we don’t want to just offer the same old names; we prefer to offer what we genuinely believe is the best. For example, the B14i sub – I don’t know of another product that can do the same thing. What you can achieve with it is phenomenal. So using TW AUDiO for these projects was a no-brainer.”