So I heard a lot about this place – from the guys that put together XOYO and other similar types of venues – but then I heard that they do special Sunday sessions, where they get really good (and I mean, REALLY GOOD) DJs doing all-evening/night sessions.
I somehow convinced my friend to go a few weeks ago to one of these to see Artwork – one of my favourite DJs and one of the pioneers of Dubstep back in the day and we had no idea what to expect – given that Sunday evening/night isn’t your typical night out – we got the tickets (very reasonably priced at £6!) and got down there.
It’s situated just down the road from Brixton Station – no more than 10mins walk down the high street. We got there just before 8pm (and before last entry) and, after a very brief queue and a very thorough search/padding-down by the security, we went in.
After the initial check-in/ticketing area, as soon as you walk in there, other than a staircase on the left-hand side (that goes to the bar area, I’ll describe that further below) but straight down and you’re literally already on the dancefloor.
It’s not massive but not too small either. You’ve got the raised sections to your right hand side, opposite the DJ booth (unlike other venues, the booth isn’t ‘overlooking’ the dancefloor, rather it’s just slightly raised which is a big plus and makes some good high-five moments). A wall-wide bar on the far end, and another raised section just in front of it. Pretty spacious, yet small enough to be quite intimate. When we were there there must have been around 50-70 people, but it didn’t looked too packed at all – but I can imagine on big nights it will be filled up to 100-200+ capacity.
There were also some tucked-away alcoves which I assumed were VIP spots too (although, for them to get a drink they would literally have to cross the dancefloor) but they looked open enough for a dance but secluded enough for a few friends to enjoy the night
However, the first thing that hit us was the sound system – it is awesome. Like, really thumping bass, equivalent of any other top-range nightclub. It blew me away, one second you’re on the street then the next you feel the full force of the place. Coupled with the dark lighting and the colourful red/green/blue lighting (and lazers!), it’s really something that within minutes makes you feel like you’re in a nightclub vs. a regular bar.
Even my friend – who was, by his own admission, expecting it to be ‘more of a chilled-out bar’ was blown away and immediately knew the ante was going up. With it being on a Sunday, there was a lot of Disco-oriented tracks being played, with the occasional house/techno track thrown in for good measure (anyone who’s heard Artwork’s shows on Rinse FM would say his sound is wide-ranging) and the sound quality was legit good.
Downstairs, you had a pretty big bar/seating area. This surprised me a bit, as you don’t get this often in most places (not sure if it was because it was a Sunday or what) and the speakers in there were playing what was happening upstairs – so you didn’t lose any of the vibe or anything like that. We stayed there quite a bit as my mate wasn’t ‘into that dance/techno stuff’ but just showed how well the venue caters for all people.
Drinks prices were adequate – £5 for a beer and £7-9 for cocktails (special non-alcoholic ones on Sunday) so no different to what you’d expect for a typical London nightclub – so no real surprises there, not overly expensive (but not cheap either)
Overall, I’d really recommend it – perfect mix to appease any group of friends – those ones who really want to dance coupled with some who just want to chill out in a good environment/vibe with enough ‘underground’ feel to it that. There’s little to be said about what I didn’t like about it – however I could imagine on a wild Friday/Saturday night the place would be heaving with people and got the impression it could be a bit of a sweat-box…
Oh yeah, and it had a massive disco ball on the dancefloor too. That’s always a massive plus.
2 thoughts on “Venue Review – Phonox, Brixton”
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