We all know it’s a difficult time for live music venues and clubs. But we at Time Out also know just how many great places keep on opening in the city too. We’re not complacent: too many voids are opening up. But at the same time, we like to celebrate when the doom-and-gloom narrative goes the other way
Lafayette is a new, two-floored, 600-capacity music and nightlife venue in King’s Cross. It’s located within a project called Goods Way, named after the road it sits on which carves up the new developments in the area that house Granary Square, Spiritland, Google’s HQ and that iconic Waitrose that for some reason has live jazz bands playing in it.
The venue is run by Ben Lovett, boss of the Communion label and owner of Omeara near Borough Market. He’s also one-quarter of Mumford & Sons, but today, as he shows me round in pink hard hat and pink hi-vis, he’s totally in offstage work mode.
As you walk through the modest door into Goods Way, we land in The Courtyard, which initially reminds me of Omeara but goes harder on New Orleans and Louisiana-inspired design tropes and is covered by a ceiling of falling greenery. It’s primarily a street food space, with Temple of Seitan, Breddos Tacos, Duck Truck, Pomelo (a new venture from Lupins) and New York sushi makers Sushi on Jones all on-site and serving up the tasties. But there’ll also be a small performance space for live music or DJs on the balcony looking over the yard.
To the left of The Courtyard are two entrances. One is for Sweetwater: a cocktail bar, set across two levels, that aims to become a global cocktail destination, along the lines of NYC’s The Dead Rabbit.
The other door leads to Lafayette. It’s a really impressive and non-generic space, rectangular in shape with a rather tall stage stretching down most of one side of the room. Downstairs is all standing, while upstairs has a long curved balcony with banked steps so that rows of people can stand and watch the action taking place below the stage’s sexy proscenium arch. It naturally looks like a performance space, but with lights down low, it’s also very easy to imagine it running as a club (the venue has a 4am licence on Friday and Saturday). Upstairs has an open-ended corridor loo, a lot like the Barbican’s, and all facilities are gender-neutral. Two bars will keep the vibe bubbly, and as with the rest of Goods Way, it’s rendered in lots of soft wood, which adds a huge amount of warmth to the room.
After showing me backstage – which amusingly butts up against Google’s servers (break the internet, anyone?) – and a hush-hush speakeasy bit, which has incoming naughtiness written all over it, Lovett’s tour is done. He tells me he’s been promoting since he was 15 years old, and it’s clear he has a genuine passion for music venues, that throbs as much as his pink hard hat. You can judge the fruits of his labours when it opens this week.
Goods Way is at 11 Goods Way, N1C 4DP. Check out our guide to the best music venues in London.