The Engine Rooms, Unit K, West Quay Induatrial Estate, West Quay Road, Southampton SO15 1GZ
Last updated 13.11.2022
Venue details from my experience of recent gigs (with links to those blogs at the end).
This venue is in an even less likely location than Southampton’s 1865 and looks even more like a light industrial unit – this one on the inside as well – ventilation pipes and all – it is an industrial unit, smartened up and using the look rather than disguising it.
It is Unit K on the Quay Road Industrial Estate, just beyond IKEA down towards the docks in a street off to the right. A 0.7 mile walk from Southampton Central train station through the retail park or if driving there is some on street parking on the main road but there are meters so may as well use the surface car park (Quay South) opposite the big Carnival building… just left after IKEA if heading East. It is also just over a roundabout from The Moxy and Premier Inn hotels – both sound value choices if staying over with The Moxy being my pick as it’s a bit more interesting.
There is the bar in TGI Fridays just up the road in the retail park, on way from the train. The Quays South car park does give the Moxy Hotel bar option which is a better one (0.3 miles to venue).
Wetherspoons (The Standing Order) down the bottom of town is a bit more of a walk away weaving through the old town walls (0.5 miles). Check out The Dancing Man Brewery (0.4 miles): well worth a walk with top ale choice brewed on site.
The Engine Rooms venue holds between 400 and 800 people (says the website) and there is a divider curtain that can make the bar area bigger or gig area bigger to suit. It is all on one floor. With a band on I would think 600 max with the stage up. For Inhaler and The Hunna – both packed – there was no divider curtain, just full back to the bar.
The drinks stocks can be highly variable and usually disappointing – cans and bottles were it at last look. My 2021 visit found Old Speckled Hen in bottles as the only ale but since then I have only found various cans and bottles of cider with any beer hard to come by – at The Hunna Red Stripe was the only beer. Wine appears to be an occasional treat.
A packed Charlatans gig here in February 2016 opened my eyes to the place – how they landed that one I don’t know. They get some good medium popularity acts and older well known acts. I’d heard the sound wasn’t that good but this seems to depend where you stand – I’ve been several times now (The Hunna, Inhaler, China Crisis, Undertones, Ride, Nick Lowe, Sleeper, Graham Parker). I like the view standing next to a side wall – less pushing passed traffic and photos without getting in the way – but, as usual, hanging around the mixing desk area is a good bet.
Some neck straining to see sometimes but it goes with the small venue experience and this place is bringing the bands to Southampton with my last two visits being pleasingly packed and bouncing.
The Hunna (November 2022)
Inhaler (October 2022)
Altered Images (Mar 2022)
Acoustic Britpop (Oct 2021)
China Crisis (Sep 2019)