A Brighton music venue and television studio is set to shrink in order to survive the fallout from the pandemic.
Although the public spaces at Latest Music Bar won’t see any changes, behind the scenes things are set to change significantly.
The Manchester Street venue now takes up numbers 14-17 – but number 17, which currently houses toilets and an office, is to be turned into a swanky three-bedroom home.
Numbers 14-16, formerly the Kentfield Billiard Rooms and a Grade II listed property, will remain as Latest Music Bar.
A new home for the bar’s toilets is going to be found in the basement.
Angi Mariani, owner of Latest Bars and Latest TV, which films at the venue, said: “We see this as a win-win reconfiguration of our space.
“It will actually be better – a multi-use arts centre incorporating Latest TV and the music bar
“We don’t lose any public capacity.
“The end building [number 17] is mainly stairs, toilets and an office at the top.
“That office was used for editing, but during the pandemic our staff have been working from home and it’s actually worked really well, filming in the studio.
“The rent is currently close to £5,000 a month and we have had to pay it through the pandemic.
“We have been trying to find a way to renegotiate it and this way hopefully our rent can be close to half that, and the landlord can benefit too.”
The landlord, Colin Brace, has applied to Brighton and Hove City Council to make the changes.
The application, written by Stickland Wright, says: “As a result of the 2020/21 pandemic the viability of the entire premises being used as a music bar have been put into question and it is necessary to consider alternative uses for the premises to ensure ongoing upkeep.”
Number 14-16 was built in the early 19th century, probably as a purpose built billiard hall.
In 1878, it was converted to become a working men’s club, and the current facade was put up.
This is probably when it was linked to number 17, which is not listed.
Under the plans, the new home would have a lounge, games room, cinema, study, shower and utility room in the basement, a kitchen and dining room on the ground floor and bedrooms and another bathroom on the first and second floor.
A new courtyard would also be formed at basement level.
Meanwhile, Latest Music Bar is gearing up for a reopening in late June, and already has some small-scale parties and weddings booked in, along with bands for live music events.
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