News Column

The gig venue guide: The Lexington, London

February 11, 2014

Michael Hann, theguardian.com



Capacity: 200

Who plays there: It's a staple of the indie band circuit. Expect up and coming buzz bands, label nights, and the occasional bigger name playing Yeasayer and Black Mountain are among the bands who've stepped down from theatres in recent years. Line-ups are usually three or four bands.

Cloakroom: Yes

Admission: Usually between 5 and 10, though some shows push through that barrier.

Bar: There's a wide range of bourbons and American beers draught and bottled in the ground floor bar, usually with a couple of guest beers. Bottled lagers and ciders and standard spirits are sold upstairs in the venue. Prices are steep: 5 for a pint of Brooklyn lager, though Kronenbourg is a less demanding 3.80. However, the downstairs bar is a destination in its own right, and a far nicer place to get a drink than most of the equivalents at similar London venues.

Food: Bar meals served downstairs, with main courses at 10 to 10.50.

Toilets: Downstairs and upstairs

Wheelchair access: No

Sound: Good, crisp and clear. We won't go into venue specs, though they are all available on the venue's website. This is a venue that has invested in good equipment, with the result that its sound is among the best of any small London venue. The volume limit is 101dB, which is loud enough for all bands it's worth bringing ear plugs, actually.

Where to stand: The venue is on two levels, with a raised back section by the bar. The front of this has bench seating, but facing away from the stage. If your ire is raised by persistent chatter, avoid this area, though the very short may have their best chance of a sightline up here. On coming up the stairs, it can appear the room is already packed, because of those loitering by the bar. Push through the throng, however, and you'll find there is usually space on the lower level, especially over towards the left hand side (the view here is better, anyway, since there's a pillar in the centre of the floor that obstructs those looking face on). The stage is high enough to ease sightline problems.

Overall: The Lexington is one of the gems of London's small-venue circuit it's no surprise that many good promoters run shows here, alongside the tiny bands putting themselves on. Combine the good range of drinks, the quality of the sound, and the accessibility of the venue, and it's easy to see why it led the way in driving the capital's centre of pub gig gravity eastwards away from Camden, and why it gets shortlisted for awards as both a pub and a venue. It takes a remarkably bad band to make an evening at the Lexington entirely wasted.

Address:96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB

Telephone: 020 7837 5371

Website:thelexington.co.uk

Public transport: 10 minutes' walk from King's Cross (national rail, plus Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City underground lines) and from Angel (Northern line). Bus routes 17, 30, 45, 46, 63, 73, 205, 214, 476, N63 and N73 stop nearby.


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Source: Guardian Web


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