A new nightclub brand will see some well-known names from the past heading to the city – starting with the likes of Aswad, Bad Manners and The Drifters.
The Hub, based at The Nightingale Club in Kent Street, in Birmingham’s Southside, hopes to plug a gap in the market for over-30s in the city.
However, there will also be something for the younger market, starting with boy band JLS, booked as headliners for the launch on April 5.
The Nightingale Club is traditionally known as a gay venue, but The Hub will be aimed at people of all ages and orientation.
The move comes after entrepreneur Lawrence Barton, who already runs the Loft Lounge, Penthouse and Village Inn venues in Southside, took over the venue two years ago.
Operations director David Nash said the plans were aimed at the “forgotten generation” – people in their late-20s through to people in their 60s who enjoy the occasional night out but are short of choice in the city.
“We were talking about what was missing in the market and there is nothing really like this in Birmingham,” he said.
“We are thinking about people who probably only want to go out three or four times a year, which is why the offer needs to be so diverse.
“It won’t always be the same people – those who come for a ska night might not come for a soul night – but there are a lot of people who will. There will be different genres all the time.”
He said the retro focus would continue with plans to bring the likes of 80s stars Rick Astley, Howard Jones and the Human League to the venue, which can host up to 1,200 people.
He added: “There is a big demand for retro acts now but we also want to provide a platform for local bands.
“And we are in a position to be a key venue for touring acts. We can offer an intimate gig for around 1,000 people.
“It is an intimate gig – even JLS will be closer than they will have been in almost any other venue.
“We are also able to offer the technology and lighting that means everything is ready to do – they can just step on the stage and perform.”
Birmingham Pride director Mr Barton had taken over The Nightingale in December 2011, saving 50 jobs, after it collapsed into administration. The club, in the heart of Birmingham’s gay village, first opened in 1969 and has built up a loyal following among the gay community.
However, Mr Barton, who sits on the board of Southside BID, said while having a strong gay offer, the area attracted people from all walks of life and there were opportunities to increase footfall.
He said: “There are an awful lot of people that come around here – going to the Hippodrome and the restaurants, but don’t come here. There is good parking and great facilities and places to eat around here, so we have a lot to give.
“Hopefully this is an opportunity for an audience that wouldn’t usually to start coming to Southside.
“Southside has become a different area. The scene has become more diluted.”
After opening with JLS The Hub will welcome Aswad on April 12, UB40 tribute band Johnny 2 Bad on April 19, The Drifters on May 26, Bad Manners on June 14 and the Three Degrees on July 13.