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A new blues venue in Islington due to open shortly... We asked the man behind it, Michael Berk, for some background on the the place...

What's the idea behind the bar?

We aim to be an intimate venue (100 person capacity). Our stage can comfortably accommodate 4 musos... or 5 uncomfortably! We'll have live music six nights a week by the end of autumn, but until then will be having gigs every Fri and Sat night.

We're a bar owned and run my profession musicians. We promote our gigs and don't expect our acts to fill OUR venue for us. We make a point of only showing the best the UK has and we'll do this by paying our acts (a bit of a rare thing in London these days).

Who's behind it?

We're a family business but my wife (Michelle Berk) and I are the public faces. my wife used to work in the city but also did a bit of comparing whilst I was / am a professional guitarist ( and promoter.

What's the place like?

It looks like a mixture of smart Jazz bar (red walls, black and chrome bar, etc) and traditional American Blues bar (wood floors, stage at the end of the room, guitars hanging from the walls, etc). We serve Americana style food- burgers/ ribs/ chicken wings and a range of beers and cocktails. There's plenty of seating facing the stage and also standing room at the back.

When is the opening?

We're due to open Monday 29th June but our first gig wil be on July 24th with The Martin Harley Band performing at 9pm. The big Boy Bloater Blues Trio will be performing the next night at 9pm. I may get up and do a song or two on the first night as well.

What happens on what nights?

Mon, Wed, Thurs and Sun- Jazz, acoustic eclectic stuff (9pm)
Tues - Blues Jam (8pm start)
Fri and Sats- Blues bands (9pm)

Who have you got booked so far?

24th July - Martin Harley Band
25th July - Big Boy Bloater Blues Trio
1st August - Daniel Smith Band
13th August - Jon Gomm, 14th: The Untouchables, 22nd: Texas Thunder
19th September - The Spanner Jazz Punks
2nd October - Big Girls Blues Band
9th October - Show Without Punch,
17th October - Rapid City,
23rd October - Christian Brewer Quartet
27th November - Preston Reed

'Round Midnight
13 Liverpool Rd,
N1 0RW (coming soon)

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