George IV relaunch brings live music back to Lichfield

After going unused for months the George IV pub on Bore Street, Lichfield has re-opened to the public with promises of live music, food and events for all. We went along to the launch night to see what all the fuss was about.

The main area of the pub. Pic: Nick Brickett

The main area of the pub. Pic: Nick Brickett

Upon first walking through the front door there didn’t seem to be that much of a difference. Looking into the pool room (which remains much to the delight of a couple of people I spoke to) there’s evidence of a lick of paint and a few posters on the wall. It’s not until you make your way into the main bar area that you really see the difference.

The cubicled seats are gone for a start, replaced with a very grand old leather sofa and chairs which sit below a glistening chandelier. The walls are adorned with elegantly framed mirrors and pictures which along with the large flower-print wallpaper give the whole place a sort of regal feel.

It stops short of becoming yet another wine bar though, thankfully, by mixing all this grandiose decoration with traditional and modern pub furniture and the same bar as before. Previously a bit of an ‘old man’s pub’ the George IV has gained a classy look while still retaining that traditional pub feel. All the usual drinks you can expect are available at the bar and food is served as of this week, too.

The outside area has also been improved with a gazebo and fairy lights and I’m told there will be a full awning put up over the area so it can be enjoyed all year round. Landlady, Claire said about the relaunch, “There’s a sad lack of pubs in Lichfield where you can just relax and have a chat, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”

As promised, the relaunch kicked off the pubs stance as the live music venue for Lichfield. Before the acts began, landlord Mike thanked everyone involved for helping to make the relaunch possible. Having grabbed a sneak preview of the place before they opened myself I knew they’d certainly been working hard.

Suicide Blues. Pic: Nick Brickett

Suicide Blues. Pic: Nick Brickett

Gigs take place in the back room, which although small – or because it’s small – has a great atmosphere. Much of that is down to having a bar in the room and the great lighting rig which venue promoter Rob Taylor had installed by local firm Lichfield Light and Sound.

First to play were locals Last Train to Jupiter who’s fairly chilled out sound made for a gentle introduction to the new venue. There was a mixed crowd but they seemed to enjoy the music. During their performance singer, Gal, made his thoughts about the George IV clear saying, “it’s awesome having a venue in Lichfield.”

Local favourite meberob followed and got people moving. Also well received, one member of the crowd summed up the performance by saying simply, “he’s awesome!” Alex Parkes came next who broke things up a bit with covers of popular rock and indie songs which again got the crowd to dance.

Then came the eccentricities of Suicide Blues. Not to everyone’s taste but they certainly had a lot of energy even when they were blindfolded, and they got the crowd singing, too! As if that wasn’t enough entertainment for one night, Cuban/Brazillian collective, Viva La Revolucion squeezed onto the stage and treated Lichfield to their South American sound. A nice bit of engagement with the crowd really helped to round the night off and when I spoke to them after they said they’d definitely like to return to the George IV again.

Landlady, Claire said, “I feel really strongly about bringing in the music community in Lichfield. We’re all about trying to support the local community, whatever it is and putting acts on every weekend is one way we’re trying to do that.”

As usual there’s a set of great photos by Nick Brickett which you can see on his Flickriver. All in all, a great start for the new George IV which will see live bands every weekend as well as an open mic night in the week and hopefully more. See you there!

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1 Comment

  1. Roger Robinson

    19th August, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I never get the obsession with couches and low tables in pubs.

    Its stupid standard chairs with a normal table are best.

    The tables are too low to put your beer down on and couches generally discourage conversation as your leaning back. That or you have to talk louder and which is hard in a pub as generally they are pretty loud.

    A normal table and standard chairs encourage people to lean forward over the table which is better for conversation and means your drink is close to hand.

    The only time couches are good are on lazy sunday afternoon when you dont actually want to talk and you want to relax/read the newspaper.