Laughing The Roof Off
Central Birmingham (Broad Street)
As a host venue for a Brummies’ Choice Award event; Just the Tonic, we visited The Comedy Loft on Broad Street to see what the venue had to offer.
Situated on Birmingham’s Broad Street, the Comedy Loft does its part to look good in a part of town everybody wants to be seen in. From student nights and Hen Parties, to hotel meetings and after work drinks, Broad Street has not been left in the shadow of the Bullring.
However, this will to keep up has meant that Broad Street suffers from a lack of accessible parking, leaving you with little choice but to arrive at the Comedy Loft by Taxi, or on foot.
If taking a Taxi is out of your budget, arriving to the Comedy Club from New Street Station is a feasible, walk that the two of you could fill with conversation.
Upon arrival, there are a number of entrances into the venue, each with varying degrees of success and ease.
Your first and most obvious choice is to enter via a door underneath the ‘Comedy Loft’ signage on Broad Street itself. However, depending on your time of arrival and size of the event, you can enter through Bar 6 which is to the right of the main entrance. However, my most favourite way in is to enter through a secret entrance which seemingly has no connection to the Loft at all.
If you take a detour towards the left of the Loft and follow the road around the corner, you will eventually come to a ‘Laundrette.’ Ignore the washing machines and dirty clothes and follow the staircase up as far as it will allow. Brace yourself for a moment and open the doors to what is my most favourite bar discovery ever.
Inside you will discover what might be our favourite bar discovery ever. With a quaint and quiet bar that seems to serve as an entrance into the loft for staff and special guests, the Laundrette is not an advertised entrance. However, since the staff were kind enough for us to hide away from Storm Doris, I feel obliged to give them a shoutout.
The actual 'loft' section of the Comedy Loft is intimate and there are two sections: The Bar and the Comedy area. The bar is easy to navigate; it’s simply a dark room with a Bar no different to a University nightclub or student union house.
IF you're not a student, what I'm trying to tell you is that if your drink of choice is not in a bottle or can, you aren’t going to get it & expect expect substitute brands for your Alchopops too.
Unlike a university bar though, you are able to pre-order drinks for the interval, much like a theatre allows, saving you time queuing up when the inevitable rush happens.
The toilets are also in this bar section too, and whilst they aren’t the best maintained toilets in the city centre, they are at least clean and aren’t a pain to use during your show’s two intervals- if you decide to use them.
Now onto the meat of this article; the seating area itself.
I have to be honest with you, the Comedy Loft is not the warmest of places and due to the club being a part-time destination, an adequate heating system does not seem to be high on their agenda; so expect to layer up should you come here.
The visibility at the Comedy Loft also has some serious blind spots due to four huge pillars that support the centre of the room. It means that should your comic decide to jump off stage and enter the audience for whatever reason, don’t expect to be able to see them 100% of the time.
The owners have clearly tried to rectify this issue by placing mirrors on the said posts, but in reality, this still does not fix your obscured vision and you can find yourself looking in the opposite direction of the comic in order to catch a reflective view instead.
Audio quality here seems to wain ever so slightly too. Whilst the speakers themselves are superb and are a credit to the engineers who invented and put them in, the microphones seem to have dead-zones on the stage and even being wired up doesn’t seem to help. Luckily, the venue is small enough for a vocally endowed performer to hit the back without too much effort.
Thankfully though, the lighting system at the Comedy Loft is a true gem for this venue. Changing colour at a moments notice, the Comedy Bar gives the audience an ever changing and dynamic experience, with acts having different tones from one another.
The Comedy Loft is a fun and quirky venue that offers everything you need, but not much more in areas you are expecting it to outperform. Admittedly, I did expect more from the Comedy Loft due to it being a Brummies Choice nominee. I wanted a better stocked bar and I wanted to see everything that my ticket had given me a right to see. I wanted to be warm and I wanted my date to be wowed by this different experience and sadly I got none of those things.
On the flip side however, I cannot dispute the sheer significance of this nomination and in that, I can see why the Comedy Loft is so well respected.
The location means access is simple and coming here feels like a special of occasion. Your date going home and telling their friends about the evening isn’t going to reflect on the venue itself, but the content within.
So what if it was a little cold? You’re still going to leave with your ribs sore from all of the laughter.
The actual sound system itself is excellent and immersive- nothing sounds off and you’ll sit in your seat and feel as if you are right next to the action.
Reasonable capacity with tabled seating and tiered section
Superb lighting effects that do the promotional photos justice.
Surprisingly comfy seating. I sat for 2+ hours at a time with minimal fidgeting and was surprised to leave after 6 with a tushie that didn’t feel like it had been worn down to the bare bone.
- Bar isn’t great and has a strange pricing system that makes Alcoholic beverages cheap, but soft drinks expensive (more than £2 for a Redbull but Corona was something like £3.30)
- The Microphones are arguably the weak link in the sound system, meaning you might miss a section to a joke, but anyone who’s done their mic-check isn’t going to let that happen.
- Poor heating coverage, so wear your thermals or at least layer up if you aren't going to the after party. (Sorry ladies, if you don't want your parts to get cold, put away the sexy clothing.)
- Seating arrangement can mean you miss some of the action due to huge support pillars in the centre of the room.