The Astoria, London, UK
Created | Updated Mar 27, 2009
The Astoria Theatre, London, is located on Tottenham Court Road and can easily be found from Tottenham Court Road Underground Station. Just come out of the tube station and it is located opposite the Apex Plaza. The Astoria itself is a small venue holding around two to three thousand people and there's really not that much room - especially when it's full. The building is wonderfully decorated in black with various 'lightning bolt' design mirrors dotted around the balcony. The balcony itself contains both seating and standing areas. The seating area contains tables and chairs and these are arranged in a pleasant 'romantic table for two' kind of way with lamps in the centre of the table. The only problem is that the lights can't be switched off and the chairs are stuck to the floor.
The staircases are tight and sometimes steep but access is possible for both able and disabled people. Beer is served in a can and is reasonably expensive. It is also normally kept at room temperature. There is a limited choice of lager or cider but they do serve spirits as well and the bars are well placed so you will never be far away from one. In the stage area you have a solid smooth concrete floor and this is not a problem at the start of most shows when it's dry. However, by the end of the night it can be a little bit slippery and therefore somewhat dangerous.
The sound quality is surprisingly good as the sound does not get distorted or badly absorbed and if you want to sit comfortably and watch the show then you can do so from the balcony. Up there, the sound quality remains good; in fact there's very little difference in the sound no matter were you are in the building.
This venue is located just down the road from the Astoria itself, and is really just a smaller version of the original, although there are a few minor differences. The chairs on the balcony are not nailed down and it serves food, which is nice. The balcony also feels a lot safer due to it being on a single level and having more railings.
The Astoria 2 holds about half the people of the Astoria itself, which lends the place a cosier atmosphere. The beer, however, is still served in cans. A small warning, if you use the lower level bar there will be an oversized mixing tower between you and the stage. But this has no affect on the sound as you can hear everything even in the cloak room. The venue, like its big brother Astoria, also acts as a nightclub.