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Football and Music Hit the Bar

Harnessing the devotion engendered by both sport and music, innovative bar managers have brought these passionate twin pursuits under one roof in an attempt to make their bar/pub/venue stand out.

Perception is a funny thing. Until relatively recently football fans and music lovers were perceived as being mutually exclusive groups. It might have been a legacy of playground taunts — the cliché being that sports-mad teenagers were only interested in athletic prowess, while the non-sports kids were strangely dressed geeks obsessed with weird bands like The Smiths.

 

Thankfully, something shifted in the 1990s. The World Cup of Italia 90 — in particular New Order’s majestic post-acid house anthem World in Motion — kick-started a thawing of relations between these two camps.

 

In fact, terrace culture was always wrapped up in music and style — as Oasis would later demonstrate. And today, football (sport in general in fact) and music are perfectly natural bedfellows. Pleasingly, this is something that the UK’s most forward thinking bar managers and publicans have long since realised.

 

Harnessing the devotion engendered by both sport and music, innovative bar managers have brought these passionate twin pursuits under one roof in an attempt to make their bar/pub/venue stand out. In today’s social media-dictated world where ‘experience’ is everything, cutting-edge bars and traditional pubs have realised that there is a lot of crossover between football and music. Many customers want to watch a football match on the big screen before being entertained by a DJ or guitar-toting troubadour.

 

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City centre bars have long been making the most of these opportunities. In Manchester, Black Dog NWS and Joshua Brooks have successfully tapped into this coming together of music and football. Both show all the major sporting events and regularly host cool and credible club nights.

 

But it’s not just trendy bars that are getting punters in through the door by pushing the football and music envelope. Traditional pubs that have been given a modern makeover (a remix perhaps?!) have also incorporated a twin music and football strategy. Music disc spinners can be regularly found in north London’s The Leconfield, while Birmingham’s The Lord Clifden has some of the UK’s coolest DJs coaxing all manner of dancing shapes out of the pub’s patrons.

 

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Cosmopolitan cultural spaces (the beautiful game’s equivalent of total football) have also got in the act. East London’s Rich Mix put together a music and football festival for Euro 2016, while Liverpool’s impressive Camp & Furnace remains at the forefront of 21st Century entertainment incorporating football, craft beer, street food, DJs and an inclusive European-style vibe.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, traditional boozers haven’t been slow in offering this alluring mix. The Gunners and The Antwerp Arms in the capital push football and live bands equally. Liverpool’s Dovedale Towers (apart from having a notable association with the Beatles) is another that sees football and live music as key drivers.

 

 

The Record Factory in Glasgow has the lot — sport, DJs and live bands. And that’s the key. There really is no need to alienate one crowd at the expense of another. Some pubs might not work as music venues; likewise not all sports bars will easily adapt to a DJ. But don’t automatically assume music lovers and football fans don’t get on. Not all footballers are Phil Collins fans. As we said at the outset, sometimes perceptions are wrong.