Frogmore Street, Bristol BS1 5NA
Venue details from my experience of these recent gigs (with links to those blogs):
I’ve only ever known this venue under it’s O2 Academy banner, having only been travelling here over about the last 5 years. As well as those visits featured in my blogs above, I’ve seen Heaven 17 here a few years back; The Psychedelic Furs and The Hunna.
Once inside, the merch stand is set up on the left. There is a small bar beyond the merch, and an area with a few seats which can be shut off sometimes – it’s just beyond a wall of historic notes.
Usually as you enter you will swing right and through the heavy glass doors that keep the sound in and into the main auditorium. It holds 1,650 people – all standing – and that’s if the balcony is open. It isn’t always.
It is one of those balconies which is fine if you are hugging a place at the rail – otherwise it can be difficult to find a gap to peer through. There is a bar upstairs also. People tend to clutter the stairs for an elevated view and all in all I’d rather be downstairs. The best spots I find are the slightly raised platforms to the rear leaft and rear right of the main floor of the auditorium.
It’s ‘side on’ to the stage if you get my drift so no one is that far back, even if opting to stay on the raised part in front of the long bar at the back.
Pleased to see Shipyard ale appear on draught at my November 2021 visit.
It’s one if the better medium sized venues I’ve been to and they are a circuit regular for many tours. Unfortunately it’s not that convenient by car or train from Poole.
If coming by train it’s a 1.1 mile walk from Bristol Templemeads. If driving, the large old multi-storey Trenchards car park is just next to the venue….if you can navigate to find it. Parking on upper floors near the exit floor can speed your way out afterwards – I’m usually staying over when in Bristol.
The obvious spot for a pre-gig pint is the oldest pub in Bristol, The Hatchet Inn, handily just over from the O2 Academy. Deceptively spacious but often busy of course on gig nights. A wide variety of ales on tap. They do food also.
A regular pre-gig meal spot is the practical and speedy Wong’s Chinese restaurant round the corner, up Denmark Street from the Hatchet Inn. Last visit they had switched to a QR code ordering arrangement which is a bit naff but it works.
If you’re hanging around afterwards, especially when at one of those early curfew weekend gigs – where they get the grey haired gig goers out early and let the kids in for a second sitting – then I recommend a visit to the Smoke and Mirrors bar further along Denmark Street from Wong’s, away from The Hatchet. Late licence and more live music.
That’s my O2 Academy Bristol round up. I’ll update this next time I visit.