Cockney Rebel Paul Colston gets down Under the Bridge
Our football stadia seem to get better and better at hosting events outside of the main game itself. Certainly most facilities in today’s stadia in the top two tiers of English football, are fully ‘event ready’.
Gone are the days when the height of catering was a mug of Bovril and a re-heated meat pie.
Such are the rewards from TV for the big clubs that chasing the corporate pound is now a priority, indeed a must if you want to compete.
A spin-off, of course, is that for a range of events, a football stadium is now high on the list of potential venues for organisers, whether it is a training meeting in a pitch-side box, or a full-on conference in one of the large halls or lounges.
My past visits to Stamford Bridge have tended to be of the once-a-season variety in the segregated area for away fans, so a chance to get along to Under the Bridge recently – an underground venue ideal for music – was not only an indulgence of my love for the music of Steve Harley who brought his rock band for a run out recently, but a chance to check out an events venue within a bigger venue.
In the words of the great man Harley himself, Under the Bridge was: “Small (550 capacity) but it had everything. Seemed user-friendly. For the performers, it was near-perfect”.
Since opening in 2011, the purpose-built Under the Bridge has hosted an array of world-class performers including Beyoncé and Gary Barlow.
Industrial, yet modern in design, the venue offers a stage with integrated state-of-the-art technology, sound and lighting. It has 9-metre LED wall and offers two integrated bars, raised balcony seating and banquette-style booths.
With 720sqm and a central ceiling height of six metres, event planners may want to, ‘Come up and see it smile’ sometime.
Under the Bridge can accommodate up to 550 people for a reception or 140 for dinner, putting it squarely in the Christmas party venue market, too.
For guests from abroad, taking a stroll through the Chelsea FC complex en route to the venue is also a chance to take in some of London’s proud football heritage. In fact, with all the hotel space, restaurants and bars on the site, you don’t even have to like football at all to have a good time Under the Bridge.
And, for any Harley fans out there, just ‘Look what they’ve done to the Blues!’