Kentishtowner Awards: Best Live Venue or Gallery 2012

‘Does karaoke at the Boston count?’ So said one of you, and of course, if it pulled in enough votes …


‘Does karaoke at the Boston count?’ So said one of you, and of course, if it pulled in enough votes it surely would do. But there are just so many strong contenders of all shapes and sizes in the area, the vote was widely spread, taking in art, music, theatre and comedy.

Pub events were indeed popular choices, from the ‘life affirming live sing song sessions round the piano at the Southampton Arms’ to the long-standing stand-up nights, Monkey Business, currently residing upstairs at The Oxford.

And the area’s small theatres had plenty of mentions, from the critically acclaimed work of Giant Olive at the Lion & Unicorn to the string of exclusive appearances of top comics alongside accessible plays going on over at the Pleasance Theatre.


Our local galleries continue to be well loved, with the Beardsmore and Cob among the faves, and venerable Flaxon Ptooch coming in at #4. And with owner Michael’s penchant for throwing those monthly parties featuring live bands, he succeeds in being both a gallery and important music venue all in one.

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1. Forum

Inside the Forum
Inside the Forum
We are humbled to have an established London home for world class bands right in our midst. One of London’s all-too-few decent mid-sized music venues is currently firing on all cylinders, hosting some amazing line-ups over the last 12 months. Judging from the daily Twitter chatter, The Forum brings many into people to K-Town for the first time too, and as such has the honour of being a key feature of both the cultural and economic landscape in the high street. Dishing out tickets to the recent ‘secret’ Rihanna gig to local shop workers was a fantastic idea and puts the venue at the heart of the community. No wonder it was the soar-away winner here. 9-17 Highgate Road
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2. Roundhouse

roundhouse‘Consistently great acts, beautiful venue’ said one 30-something male voter, which in any other year would neatly sum up this iconic venue. But in 2012 it was also home to the wildly oversubscribed Camden Beach, plus provided the backdrop for that unforgettable morning the Olympic torch passed through the borough. Keeping Camden’s international musical profile where it should be with numerous televised awards shows and the massive iTunes festival, through to cutting edge circus and groundbreaking theatre from the likes of Kate Tempest. And not forgetting the achievements of the charity working in the vaults either. Unique and world class, in every way. Chalk Farm Road

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3. Zabludowicz Collection

ZabludowiczextThe centrepiece of the healthy West Kentish Town gallery scene, this stunning ex-Methodist chapel returns naturally to the Kentishtowner Awards after a very strong 2012. We’re big fans of their choice of young artists and the endlessly creative way the space is transformed for each of the key shows. It was a little too early for the newly opened and very impressive DRAF Gallery in Camden (look out for our first review, coming 30th December) to provide a challenge in this vote, but between them, we have the prospect of an arty new year on the way too. 176 Prince ow Wales Road

Tomorrow: Best Boozer

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