Ben Lovett from folk band Mum­ford & Sons opens Omeara, a new live mu­sic venue in London Bridge.

London is full of huge mu­sic sta­di­ums, but what if you pre­fer to lis­ten to mu­sic in a more in­ti­mate venue? Sam Rogg looks for­ward to danc­ing and drink­ing at new grass­roots space, Omeara

Where London - - Contents -

London has no short­age of mas­sive mu­sic venues, with Brix­ton Acad­emy, The O2, Wem­b­ley Arena and the Round­house reg­u­larly at­tract­ing the big­gest per­form­ers from around the world and the thou­sands

of fans who want to see them play. But where do you go in this city to hear the next big thing or lis­ten to your favourite artist in an in­ti­mate set­ting? There are sur­pris­ingly few places for such a mu­sic-lov­ing me­trop­o­lis. So step for­ward Omeara, a brand-new 320-ca­pac­ity live mu­sic venue in con­verted rail­way arches near London Bridge.

Set up by Mum­ford & Sons’ Ben Lovett (who co-founded the in­de­pen­dent mu­sic la­bel Com­mu­nion), Omeara is di­vided into a large bar, small con­cert hall and sep­a­rate in­for­mal din­ing area. ‘I’ve been play­ing and putting on shows in London for my en­tire adult life,’ says Lovett. ‘ With­out the grass­roots mu­sic venues in this city, the band and I sim­ply wouldn’t have achieved what we have, so I have a lot to be grate­ful for.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan adds: ‘ Th­ese venues, which are the lifeblood of our mu­sic scene, are of­ten un­der threat. I know Omeara will be a mas­sive suc­cess, help­ing fresh new tal­ents to make their mark in the cap­i­tal and have their mu­sic heard’.

Tequila takes cen­tre stage on the drinks menu with mul­ti­ple con­coc­tions fea­tur­ing the spirit. We rec­om­mend the Omeara Ora for its re­fresh­ing mix of tequila, straw­berry purée, le­mon and Prosecco. For some­thing sweeter, try a Salty Caramel Flip, made with tequila, mez­cal, crème caramel, agave syrup, bit­ters and pop­corn. Seat­ing op­tions range from booths to balcony ta­bles (look for the stairs to a hid­den bar above the main room). Sur­round­ing the bar, you’ll find lots of food op­tions span­ning sev­eral rail­way arches (col­lec­tively known as Flat Iron Square), in­clud­ing award-win­ning Mex­i­can street food (Cantina Car­ni­tas), mod­ern East­ern Mediter­ranean dishes (Laffa), ra­men from Barcelona ( Tatami) and Span­ish dishes (EDū).

It’s early days but al­ready the pro­gram­ming boasts some ex­cit­ing acts, in­clud­ing moody folk-elec­tron­ica artist Fyfe (1 Feb); Aus­tralian Idol fi­nal­ist Lisa Mitchell (21 Feb); and Mag­gie Rogers (28 Feb), who was cat­a­pulted to fame af­ter a video of Phar­rell Wil­liams lis­ten­ing to her song Alaska went vi­ral. In the fu­ture, Lovett hopes to add com­edy, bur­lesque and magic shows to Omeara’s of­fer­ings, but for now, treat your ears to live mu­sic through a state-of-theart sound sys­tem with a cock­tail in hand. 6 O’Meara St, SE1 1TE. www.omear­alon­don.com

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