Capacity: 175 / 200
Door price/policy: Varied
Nights open: Every day
Dress code: Casual
Five minutes with Ciarán Cullen, Events Manager at Soup Kitchen...
Hi Ciarán! So you took over as Events Manager at Soup Kitchen in February. What was your vision for the venue when you took the role, and have you started to achieve that yet?
My aim is to have some of the best acts in the world play. These can be the best new bands to come from Manchester or touring acts doing their first shows in the UK. I want a full calendar of events. May is looking chocca already with EMA, Bear In Heaven, DZ Deathrays, Pond and Japandroids all playing. See all upcoming Soup Kitchen events.
Where were you working before Soup Kitchen?
Before Soup Kitchen I worked for three years at Night and Day and three years at The Ruby Lounge.
How would you describe the vibe of SK? What kind of person would enjoy it?
Soup Kitchen is a diverse multi-purpose business that caters for a wide audience. There aren't many places that can boast that. We are a family friendly canteen which serves amazing food throughout the day, an amazing bar with a wide selection of beers and ales and we have the best DJs in Manchester soundtracking the whole thing. So as long as you like food, booze and music you will like Soup Kitchen.
Tell us about the venue in terms of the ground floor bar and the basement. What goes on where?
The cafe / bar on the ground floor is a Northern Quarter must for late night drinkers, eaters and socialisers. We have our regular 'food versus' events in the cafe, the most recent being our Cocktail Vs Cake night. It's open late on Friday and Saturdays, with the likes of Jon K and Simon Tonkinson DJing from 8pm - 1am in the "Kitchen". The basement space, which might be still be news to some people, is one of the best club spaces in Manchester. We host some of the best club nights and are now looking to host the best bands.
You have a good mix of club nights and gigs. Are you focusing more on one or the other? Or trying to keep a balance?
Right now I am focusing on the gigs and providing the best service for promoters using the venue, bands playing here and most importantly the punters who are paying for tickets to come see the bands. We already have some of the best club nights in Manchester.
What regular club nights do you have?
meandyou, Hot Milk, Swing Ting, In The Loop and new to the line up - Doodle. Our most regular night however is our own Soup Kitchen residency night Be My Guest, every Friday, with DJs in the "Kitchen" and the basement until the early hours. Also we do a club night on the 1st Sunday of the month between 3pm and 8pm - Pebble. It works amazingly well even though it's through the day and on a Sunday.
Do you have a music policy?
Experimental, Ambient, Leftfield, Electronica, Psychedelic, Minimal, Avant-Garde, Afro Futurism, African, South American, Heavy Funk, Soul, Disco, Cosmic Jazz, Rock, House, Techno, Dancehall, Soul, Dirty South, Rap, Reggae, Hip Hop.
With so many mid-sized venues in Manchester, how difficult is it to secure bookings, and what's good about the venue from a band's point of view?
It's always a difficult task securing acts to play anywhere; it always takes a lot of convincing and a lot of hard work. Even if you think you are absolutely the right person to put a band on, it can be easily taken away from you. But here at Soup Kitchen we give the bands free soup when they arrive! It's an intimate space so it doesn't take much to create a great atmosphere.
And what about for audiences - anything about SK that's particularly good from an audience perspective?
Soup Kitchen has a relaxed atmosphere. You can come early to have food and drink before the gig or club. Relax in the canteen and when you are ready, head downstairs for more drinking and dancing. We also have some of the friendliest bar staff in Manchester.
You've been at SK for a relatively short space of time, but what have been some of the highlights so far?
We did a Record Store Day Live all day gig in conjunction with Piccadilly Records. It was a great show with lots of amazing Manchester acts. Irma Vep, Base Ventura, Pins, Young British Artists, Die Hexen, Milk Maid and Shinies. Everyone was in such a great mood and the place was rammed right from 11am til 7pm. Definitely my highlight so far.
What does the rest of the year have in store for the venue?
Hopefully more gigs and more events! There will be more daytime events over the weekends too. We'll be making some improvements over the summer but nothing too drastic.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Soup Kitchen is one of the most diverse bars in Manchester, with its upstairs canteen and bar, and downstairs event space. The basement space works well through the day and through the night.
Twitter: twitter.com/SoupKicthen_Mcr) and search the hashtag #showsatsoup
See you at Soup!
Originally published: 8th May 2012