Hot Water Comedy Club plans huge new venue with food market and live music stage
1 year ago
Blackstock Market will be the new home to Hot Water Comedy
The owners of Liverpool’s Hot Water Comedy Club are planning to move it into a huge new venue – doubling the space for comedy and adding a food market and live music stage.
Blackstock Market will have nine local food vendors along with multiple bars and a beer wall, a big rooftop terrace and podcast studios.
Brothers Paul and Binty, who started the club 12 years ago, had been looking for somewhere to grow into since before lockdown.
When they found the derelict unit at the back of Leeds Street, they decided to take on the challenge.
“The building had been an old bus terminal, but it had been empty for at least 20 years so it was pretty run-down and looked a bit daunting,” says Paul. “It took about 90 skips worth of ripping out, but now with the new mezzanine and roof terrace we’re going to add it’ll be a massive 60,000sqft so we’ll have plenty of space to do everything we want to do.
“We’ve had quite a few venues since we started in Envi about 12 years ago, including the Jacaranda and then our own venue on Seel Street when we went six nights a week. We outgrew that in less than a year, and moved to Hardman Street which is where we are now – but that’s only a 225-seater, and we’ve outgrown that for a while so we were looking for quite a long time for somewhere new.
“This is slightly out of the city centre but we’ve always been a destination venue anyway, it doesn’t need to be in the middle of town because people book online and we don’t tend to get that many walk-ups.
“Plus, you’ve got the Ten Streets project and Everton’s new ground only a short walk away and new apartments going up here so the area is expanding. By putting everything under one roof people can come before the show, get something to eat and stay after it for live music so it’s a full night out.”
Although it will still have comedy on six nights a week, Paul says Blackstock Market will look very different to Hot Water Comedy Club’s current home.
“The new main comedy club space is a 590-seater theatre, so more than double what we have now, and we’ll also have two other performance spaces with 230 seats and 170 seats.
“There’ll be pre-show food in the food market and post-show entertainment which will both be open as a separate brand so you can go in any time without coming to the comedy club. We’ve also got eight podcast studios which people will be able to book and a live podcast studio, like a live lounge, with an audience of up to about 50. When there are shows running simultaneously in each part of the venue, it’ll have a capacity of over 1,000 so it’s much bigger than anything we’ve done before.”
With space for nine food vendors, Paul says they’ve already had lots of interest.
“We’ve had some really strong applications for food traders, more than 120 businesses including some really recognisable Liverpool restaurants. I think they’re seeing an opportunity not just for a brand new food market but also a ready-made customer base coming to the comedy club.
“We’re definitely intending to link-up with some local breweries as well – there are a few really close to where the venue is – and we’re going to have a self-service beer wall in there.”
Paul says the fit-out has been a major project, but they’re hoping to be able to get the first audiences in by the end of this year.
“We’ve been working on it since September last year and done all the boring stuff, the replacing and repairing, but when we got Seel Street that didn’t have electric or gas so we had to do everything there as well. We’re used to that side of things, just not on this scale.
“The plan is to open it in phases, so phase one will be the ground floor of the main space which will include the main theatre, food court and music stage, and hopefully that’ll be all ready before the end of this year.”