After two hugely successful years as west London’s leading intimate club-bar Cherry Jam temporarily closed its doors on Feb 24 for a three week re-furbishment, and will re-open March 18 with a minty fresh makeover and a whole new outlook for the start of its third year, and ‘Lounge’ is where it’s at …
With the runaway success of its sister venue, Neighbourhood, owners Ben Watt and Alan Grant want to make a greater distinction between the two venues, keeping Neighbourhood the major West London clubbing force it has become during its meteoric rise since September 2003, while focussing on new levels of comfort, intimacy and lounging at Cherry Jam. ‘In many ways, especially at weekends, Neighbourhood has effortlessly become what Cherry Jam was always straining to be,’ says Ben Watt. ‘so in spite of two amazing years, we thought it was time to kick on again into something new.’
The tiny club-bar has played host to a stellar cast of artists and DJs (The Libertines, Damon Albarn, British Sea Power, Dimitri From Paris, Beth Orton, Halo and Hip-ee) since opening in February 2002 has brought in original architects Powell-Tuck Associates to lead the re-furbishment plans. New fixed seating, tables, cushioned upholstery, a new main floor, lighting and wall treatments will move the emphasis onto the venue’s well-loved early evening role as a social hub, extending the vibe through the night to create the ultimate last-stop for chilled night owls.
On the music front, following the venue’s hugely popular early-evening bespoke compilation series ‘Cherry Picked’ (which pulled in exclusive in-bar mix CDs from names such as Tracey Thorn, Don Letts and Nathan Haines) Cherry Jam launches the new Random-Play ‘Cherry iPod’ with new guest compilers programming what promises to be west London¹s definitve modern jukebox. Later on, live DJs will focus on subliminal sets of contemporary mood music. The music will be hosted and curated by guest labels, including metropolitan New York-Philly flavours from BBE, Euro Alt Lounge and Future Soul from Batacuda, global and outernational sonics from Honest Jon’s, sweet urban from Seb Chew and the Yo Yo crew, and skate-park soundtracks from the superb emergent talent, Younglee and Furioustyles.
‘Two years in, and our crowd clearly wants a choice,’ concludes Ben. ‘Some nights they want to party, some nights they just want to chill with friends. With the luxury of two venues a stone’s throw apart, we hope to be able to offer them both. Peerless club music and a heaving party at Neighbourhood. Superb cocktails, casual food and eclectic lounging at Cherry Jam.’