Being tucked away up the road from a sex shop opposite a coach station The Old Wharf would be hard pushed to even make the final credits on ‘Location Location Location’ but nevertheless there it stood defiant in it’s back street boozer’s finest livery . Music wise a truly independent pub which unlike some other City Centre venues didn’t tie it’s tour T to any particular style catering for Brum’s Punk, Metal and Indie scene, regular home to Punks Alive as well as BSP Rock nights meant you knew you’d be sure to have ringing ears to keep your hangover company in the morning. The Digbeth cold nights rarely stopped at the front door but the backroom fireplace could hold it’s own (providing someone did a ‘pallet run’), the murals were cheery, the ceiling rickety and the beer was reasonable.
But alas austerity bites and it seems crowds are agiley struggling to tighten their belts without cutting themselves clean in half, so after five years Dave & Michelle have sadly taken the difficult decision to leave. Finer hosts of the old school variety you couldn’t wish to meet (though tbh i don’t think i ever met Dave :S) now slowly being replaced with gastropubs, uniforms, name badges and those tills you operate with a plastic lollipop stick. Both ably assisted by some fine (and patient) staff including Chris the sound dude who’s one man noise wrangling skills averted many a potential disaster.
So another live music venue has gone leaving a gap (not least a geographical drinking gap between town and The Wagon and they’re the worst type of gap) which is always a loss for Birmingham. I imagine it might just re open at some point in the future but i doubt if it’ll put gigs on again with the regularity or prestige of the previous years.
There’s plenty of photo’s to be found on Flickr which show the cross section it catered for unfortunately as with all photos of the good times they’re just a faint shadow of the true ambience.
So lets hope the remaining Digbeth live venues can take up the slack and the punters keep them viable for the future.
(photo courtesy of Iron Man Records)
Update: Gemma of Wharf regulars Dakesis writes of her memories of the venue (with lots of piccies) here