The Brudenell Social Club has long been the heart of Hyde Park. Situated between two shabby garages, flat roofed and originally, exclusively a working mens’ club, the Brude’ (as it’s locally known) has gradually transformed into a hub of activity. Huge acts including Franz Ferdinand, The Kooks and the Kaiser Chiefs have graced it’s stage – often under a veil of secrecy, using pseudonyms – and it remains the prime venue for touring bands, often outdoing the O2 and Cockpit for a spot on the tour poster.
On November the 30th a celebration will be held to commemorate 100 years of underground bliss. The line-up is suitably impressive. Forward Russia headline with This Et Al reforming for a one-off performance in honour of the club.
This Et Al’s gesture encapsulates the value of the Brude’. Increasingly gigs are being trumped by bigger nights with cheaper drinks. The Brudenell has retained that essential charm that inspires loyalty. The people of Leeds and further afield want the Brudenell to keep blazing a trail, they want it to succeed. It’s rare for a venue to have such importance to its patrons that they feel almost as if they have a stake in it themselves.
The family run business has made all the right moves. The success of the Brudenell can be attributed to a sharp business sense. They offer free pool until 4pm every day, the drinks are cheap with a couple of nice but unusual choices on draught, the atmosphere remains laid back and friendly. It’s an utterly unpretentious pub with an impressive record for entertaining the masses of Leeds.
I went round asking bands, customers and staff how they saw the success of the Brudenell Social Club and which factors they considered important for it’s success:
Blue Laurel (Band)
“It’s just been there so long it’s known. It’s one of the first venues that gets mentioned when you talk about Leeds’ scene and that’s because it’s relentless. There’s always something happening, and somehow this has grown to being a serious venue with massive bands playing there.”
Jake Morton (Musician/Fan)
“It’s far more personal than other larger venues. There seems to be a far better atmosphere when you’re so close to the artist. Even if you’re not overly bothered by who you’re seeing you still manage to get excited about it and I think that has a lot to do with the venue itself.”