Bar Rumba will relaunch this September with a new music policy, new back room and a brand new website.
On September 26th, the club will open its doors to celebrate its 15th anniversary and welcome in a new music policy that will focus its sights on the capital city's music lovers. It's an ambitious agenda, which includes a host of new nights and tweaked old ones. Mondays will feature a new weekly from Gilles Peterson called Worldwide Underground, while Thursday will see a dubstep night called Sin City hit the club once a month. Long-running drum & bass weekly Movement, which first brought DJ Marky to the UK, will move to once every other week.
Weekends, meanwhile, will feature parties like Don't Be Leftout from Matt Tolfrey, NoDisko vs Codex, LT Editions from the LikeThat crew, automatica and Fluxus with Boris Horel, Pierre LX and the club's new music director James Manero. Starting in November, they'll also begin a new Cadenza Records residency and Prologue.
Aside from the nights, though, what will mark the Shaftsbury Avenue venue apart from the pack? Says Manero, "Anyone unaware of what's happening inside the club and just looking for somewhere to drink until 5 AM won't get in. We want a crowd who invests in their night, checking out the latest happenings on MySpace or Facebook, people coming to the club for a reason," adding that "it's time for a much needed renaissance in London's club scene. For our relaunch there's no multi-million pound refurb, there's no new cocktail list, none of that rubbish, this is 100% about our musical policy and having the best parties in London."
RA briefly talked to Manero in advance of the relaunch to find out more.
Tell me about why you decided to relaunch Bar Rumba.
As someone who was born and raised in London I have seen this city grow and the clubbing scene develop, move geographically around the city, music genres emerge, new clubs etc. And, naturally, I have a passion and fondness for London as it has always been my home. My honest opinion right now, though, is that London's clubbing scene is in a very bad state. As far as clubs go themselves, not one of them is currently doing "well." The independent brands such as Secretsundaze, Mulletover, Gozilla, Disco Bloodbath and Horse Meat Disco are doing great, but what about the clubs themselves? Looking at the clubs that have closed over the last year or so, they have all been over 800 capacity. It's just not possible to fill such a club week-in, week-out with people who are just there for the music, so right now there is definitely a gap in the market for a smaller club that will deliver just as much quality as the larger ones.
Why did you decide to not bother with a refurb?
We have refurbished to a certain extent, but have chosen not to talk too much about it, simply because clubs were created for listening/dancing to music and, so, that's what we are most proud of. I think people will be impressed when they come down to Bar Rumba, but that's for them to decide. What matters the most for me is the musical quality and sound.
With all of the recent club closings in London, do you honestly think the city can come back?
I think that this city will definitely bounce back, it will just take some time. I think there are a number of factors as to why the club scene is in the state that it is, and you can attribute them to the economy, smoking bans, mass migration to places such as Berlin, but London is still one of the most cutting edge cities in the world. At the end of the day, if the scene is not working, then it's only up to the industry to fix it. And new clubs will open again, but maybe the age of the "Super-Club" here in London is over, for now at least.
For more info on some of the new nights on tap—and tickets—click on the events linked below.