Camden Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH (map)
Tel: 020 7424 9991
Nearest Tube : Chalk Farm
Best pub for a pre-gig drink: The Hawley Arms
The Roundhouse is: A Figaro
Interesting fact: Pink Floyd played their first ever gig at the Roundhouse
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Guide to the Camden Roundhouse - Venue Information
Camden Roundhouse is a fabulous Grade II listed building 200 yards from Chalk Farm Tube Station. Originally built as an engine shed, the Roundhouse's heyday was the 1960's, when it was known as a cutting-edge performing arts venue, and the likes of The Doors and Jimi Hendrix played there.
Performances ceased in 1983, and after a number of false starts the Roundhouse rose like a phoenix from the flames when the Roundhouse Trust was established and performances began again in the 1990's.
The Roundhouse has recently undergone a £29.7 million redevelopment and it seems money well spent. There is a nice juxtaposition of steel staircases and glass frontages with the bare original brickwork.
Entering the Roundhouse, you climb a flight of stairs to get to the main performance area, situated on the first floor, which is a little disconcerting at first. The main auditorium is circular of course, and is a very unusual space. Looking up you can see the timbered roof tapering to a skylight at the top. Running all the way around the venue are a few rows of seats, which seem to have good views. The main space seems smaller than the 3,000 it apparently holds, and it doesn't really matter where you stand, you will have a fairly good view. In the centre of the auditorium are iron columns supporting the roof, but rather than get in the way these add characacter to the venue.
There are two bars in the main auditorium furthest from the stage, including one "speed bar" - which doesn't serve amphetamines, but sells only draught beers. Just outside the main auditorium is another bar offering access to a roof terrace, for smokers and those who wish to lord it up and look down on Camden Town.
The sound system at the Roundhouse is good but it is let down a little by the acoustics, which are not as good as one would expect from a small circular structure. The Roundhouse is definitely one of London's most stylish music venues and you can't really go wrong with a gig here, especially with so many post-gig options on offer in Camden Town.
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Super Furry Animals at the Camden Roundhouse
Ray Davies at the Roundhouse. Note the columns supporting the roof
Inside the Roundhouse