As a basement bar in London’s Soho serving mostly theatre-goers and performers, prospects didn’t look too bright for the Phoenix Arts Club when the pandemic hit. But, true to its name, it has emerged from the ashes of lockdown and is once again in full flight, staging nightly shows, twice on Saturdays and Sundays, and providing a haven for its loyal customers into the small hours.
When everything shut down, owner Colin Savage, an actor himself who only came into the trade because he and his partner were left the bar in an inheritance 10 years ago, decided the show must go on, and continued to transmit live into the audience’s homes using the venue’s state-of-the-art sound and vision system.
As lockdown has eased, although the online shows have continued once a week, the Phoenix has opened its doors every possible day, welcoming back regulars and even some new fans and club-members thanks to an enhanced social media campaign.
Surprising and beautiful
They will have discovered a surprising subterranean space that’s beautifully lit to create instant atmosphere and a warm greeting from the well-stocked bar where the offer extends well beyond the expected cocktails and includes craft beer.
A new pizza menu has hit the mark, with up to 50 served a night, plus indulgent desserts.
The biggest attraction at the Phoenix, though, has to be its glittering new stage, where in a relaxed cabaret setting guests can enjoy a variety of performances from top comics to brash burlesque to classy crooners hot off the West End stage.
And at the same time, it has the feel of a local pub, where people can share a drink with friends and escape the hectic streets rumbling above.
The Phoenix is a true hidden gem, which might have been lost but for the determination and ingenuity of Savage and his team. Now it’s showtime again!