In 2006, the Boddingtons Brewery building, across from the MEN Arena, was due to be demolished and The Warehouse Project hosted a 12 week series of events there, starting in the September.
The following year they hosted club/gig events in a space underneath Piccadilly Station, accessed via Store Street, and this has been their base since then. The entrance is pictured above, obscured by police vans parked outside (which seem to be there as a matter of routine.)
The End Of Store Street is scheduled for January 1st 2012. With this in mind, I took some photos inside the venue on Saturday night:
This view of the barman alone behind the bar brought back memories of The Hacienda… something to do with the lighting and the aluminium cladding on the front of the bar… and the lack of people probably!
The main vaulted space runs parallel to the Store Street tunnel:
Smaller spaces, deeper within the structure, are transformed into a small ‘dancefloor’ room, a couple of bars and various chill out areas:
All the spaces are beautifully lit:
But the venue suffers from being all on one level… there are no vantage points from which to watch the action and it’s hard to escape from the constant crowd movement.
With no obvious ‘walkways’, people cross paths and collide constantly and nobody apologises… they just shove past drunkenly. I couldn’t help feeling that the complete absence of dodgey vibes can sometimes be a bad thing; in a club where things are less predictable, most people instinctively treat each other more carefully.
The crowd was basically a bunch of students being fleeced. No wonder The Warehouse Project runs from September to Christmas. After that the students are presumably too broke to participate enthusiastically in such an expensive social ritual!
WHP’s Store Street venue is very impressive, and all the more so for being a transient creation. Its temporary nature makes it difficult for criminals to exploit.
WHP have managed to copy some of the best bits of The Hacienda without being burdened by some of its worst aspects. It’s a shame that their slick corporate image, hard-sell website and high prices make them so hard to like!