Shepherd's Bush Empire, Shepherds Bush Green, W12 8TT
Tel: 020 8354 3300
Nearest Tube : Shepherds Bush
Best pub for a pre-gig drink: The Defector's Weld
Shepherds Bush Empire is: The Trotter's Robin Reliant
Interesting Fact: Jim'll Fix It, Hancock's Half Hour and the Old Grey Whistle Test were filmed here when the theatre was owned by the BBC.
Buy Tickets for the shepherd's Bush Empire
How far from Shepherd's Bush Tube Station is it? 7 minutes walk - it's located on the far side of Shepherd's Bush Green. Come out of the tube station and cross the road towards the West 12 Shopping Centre. Turn right and walk along Bush Green for five minutes. Take a right on Shepherds Bush Market Road.
Is there a cloakroom? Yes but it has been full when I have got there late before, so be warned, certainly in winter.
Should I get there early? No real need to rush, headliners usually come on shortly after 9, and there are plenty of pubs for a drink nearby. If you are seeing a big draw you may want to take a position on the main dancefloor though or risk getting stranded in the upper bar area.
Anywhere to eat nearby? A few fast food joints - KFC, McDonalds, or pub grub.
Shepherds Bush Empire Venue Guide
I have mixed feelings about this venue. I’ve really enjoyed gigs here and really not enjoyed them. Let’s start with the negatives and finish on a high. The Strokes a few years back. Great performance, very excited to see them in such a small venue, but I was a little late getting there and the clearly inadequate cloakroom was full. Which meant I was sweating like a pregnant nun. So an important piece of advice: if you have anything you want to put in the cloakroom, particularly in the winter months, get here early, as the cloakroom can get full. The coat queue also extends straight into the middle of the room so the first thing you have to do upon arriving at the Empire is squeeze through the queue to get to the bar.
Rather like Kentish Town there is a lowered standing area in front of the stage, at the rear of which are steps up to a raised bar area at more or less eye-level with the stage. To either side of the bar you can get a good view but if you end up getting stuck behind the bar on a busy night you will have an obstructed view. Things can get a little cramped up here so it is best to make your way down to the standing area before the headliners come on.
Now the positives. The Empire attracts some big names for its size, and if you manage to get close to the front for one of those memorable performances it can be quite stunning. I was very close to the front for The Roots, and rapper Black Thought was almost spitting into my face as the band kept the party going for over two hours. There is also a bar to the left and right of the main standing area so you don't have to keep squeezing through the crowds with your drinks.
Shepherds Bush Empire then; decent acoustics, good bands, great view from the dancefloor, and a stylish old building to boot.
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The balconies at Shepherd's Bush Empire
Outsire Shepherd's Bush Empire
A packed night at Shepherd's Bush Empire