London Scala , 275 Petonville Road, N1 9NL (map)
Tel: 020 7833 2022
Nearest Tube : Kings Cross
Best pub for a pre-gig drink: King Charles I (map)
The Astoria is: A second-hand Beamer
Interesting fact: The Scala played host to the one and only UK concert by Iggy Pop and The Stooges in 1972. All photographs later featured in the Raw Power album sleeve including the famous cover shot.
Buy tickets for the London Scala
London Scala Venue Guide
The London Scala is situated in a pretty ropey part of town. Kings Cross is supposed to be undergoing a facelift but the size of that task becomes apparent when walking past the boarded up properties and drunks on the way to the King Charles I Pub for a pre-gig drink. It is worth the effort though for this old-fashioned welcoming pub, complete with Bar Billiards table and jukebox, and just a couple of minutes walk from the Scala.
The Scala is a former cinema comprising of 2 floors, with 3 bars and a small courtyard smoking area. Walking in the main entrance you arrive at a central bar area complete with neon-lit chill out area, which is probably used more on the venue's club nights. From the bar area you can either head out to the stage area through doors on the right or left, or go back through the main doors to head up two flights of stairs to the second floor. This area offers reasonable views, although there is only really room for about 40 people to stand two deep against a railing.
Far better is the view downstairs, although on busy nights congestion can be a problem and latecomers may find themselves fairly cramped by the doors at the rear of the standing area. For this reason it is a good idea to take a position on the dancefloor or up the few steps at the back of the dancefloor prior to the headliners taking the stage.
We watched the Silversun Pickups here and somehow ended up two rows from the stage, simply by getting a drink early and watching the support act. This offered an excellent view, particularly given the Scala's small stage.
When moshing made us retire a little further back (it was a Monday night) the view got progressively worse. Getting to the bar for a drink involved squeezing up a packed flight of steps and heading out to the bar area, wondering how on earth we were going to get back anywhere near where we were. Opting to watch the remainder of the set from the back meant we got stuck in a congested area just by the entrance to the main auditorium with all the latecomers. So again, take your position early. This venue has character though, but is a little letdown by its lack of decent viewing areas further back from the stage, as well as its steep bar prices (£3.60 a pint).
Although there is a large amount of floor space, proportionally there is not much space to see the stage from which means that people squash down the stairs, making getting in and out of the floor really difficult. At Brixton or The Astoria (and most other venues) you can get a drink without feeling like you are pissing too many people off, and if you go to the bar you can still hear the music very well and see the band (in some places). The bar at The Scala feels like it is in another part of the building and might put you off getting a drink in the middle of the performance.
I could also imagine that if you were quite drunk you could get disorientated quite easily with the spiral staircases and different bits of building.
Cloak room is only £1 though which is quite cheap, Koko’s is £2.
Still from where we were I had one of the best views of a band I have ever had and if you are only 3 people from the front you do feel really close to the band.
You can get very close to the stage
London Scala view from the balcony
The view from downstairs
But don't get stuck behind the mixing desk near the back