The Classic Grand bears more than a passing resemblance to a Chicago speakeasy. The innumerable stairs leading up to the 800 person capacity theatrical & live music venue lends the feeling of 1920’s socialite secrecy and sin. The palm trees which flank the stage, the drapes which frame the bar, might lead you to expect Gypsy Rose Lee to take to the stage to entertain Al Capone. All in all, a perfect venue for live bands and decadent club nights.
The site has been a nightclub for many years, but the building dates back to the early 20th century, when it originally opened as a warehouse servicing the Clyde. Soon after it was reinvented as a picture house; the cinema famously became an art and porn cinema in the love decade of the 70s, with some of the louche ambiance still remaining.
Designed by W B Whitie for Henry Meikeljohn, the Grand Central Picture House opened in Jamaica Street in 1915. A typical programme would list up to eight features for the first half of the week and seven for the second; a mixture of comedy, drama and newsreels. An orchestra supplied the background music. Popular in its early days, the Grand Central saw its audiences decline in the face of competition from larger, more modern cinemas. In the 1950s it claimed to have become a specialist “art” cinema but in reality most of the films shown came into the categories of erotica and horror. The Grand Central closed in 1966 but was resurrected in 1973 by its new owners Classic Cinemas under the name Classic-Grand. It became the Cannon-Grand in 1985, then the Curzon, finally closing as a cinema in 1992.
The Classic Grand is also home to a smaller first floor lounge and dancefloor (200 capacity), whose dark interior, luxury furniture and low ceilings make it the perfect forum for after-show parties or record label launch events. The downstairs venue is intimate, perfect both for seeing cutting edge music up close or lounging to the early hours.
The upstairs (500 capacity) is a dramatic space, perfect for enjoying big shows with the best of sound from a state of the art PA, or for partying the night away at one of our in-house alt club nights.