After nearly 40 years of providing Sydney with everything from jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie and blues-man BB King, to hosting shows for Prince, KD Lang and Ryan Adams as well as forming part of Sydney’s Laneway festival; but now The Basement is being put on the market.
Mess And Noise reports that owners Tim Read and Jane Burridge, who’ve had custody over the live music venue for the last 13 years, have decided to sell the business due to a change in “personal priorities.” The pair issued a press release yesterday stating that it was “time to hand the baton on to the next generation to take care of the legacy and be part of the future history of this wonderful club.”
Located in Circular Quay in the city’s CBD, The Basement has been enjoying a boom lately with most nights hosting live music, “In the past 18 months we’ve spruced the place up, reframed and re-hung the gallery of artist posters and photos, painted the joint and re-established the Green Room Bar,” Read and Burridge told Mess And Noise, “and though we’ve added a couple of lounges, there still isn’t a poker machine to be seen in the place as was rumoured to be on the cards in 1999. That said, it’s good to have Elvis – the pinball machine – in the building.”
The property listing from Spencer-Carr does not have a publicly listed price, but does boast the venue’s 24 hour, 7 days a week hotel licence, its 550+ capacity and a ten year lease. Stating, “It will obviously appeal to quality music industry professionals, but can also be evolved into a variety of successful licensed food and beverage concepts.”
The news of The Basement’s impending sale comes during a grim climate for Sydney’s live music scene, with the last 12 months seeing the closure of The Abercrombie Hotel’s doors after a suspicious fire, the passing of The Gaelic, as well as Tone Bar shutting down last August.
It’s a distressing pattern nation-wide too, with Melbourne being the primary victim, following the recent closure of Phoenix Public House (after only six months) and the East Brunswick Club following its Laneway Festival sideshows; as well as both The Arthouse and The Public Bar in the last year. Along with the closure of Canberra’s The Greenroom and Brisbane losing The Troubadour.
The Basement, originally founded as a jazz club in 1973 by Bruce Viles, changed hands in 1999 to the soon-to-be ex-owners Tim Read and Jane Burridge, along with business partner Chris Richards, in running the room. The public sale of the venue could spell the end of its history as a popular site for live music, as next March would have marked it’s 40th anniversary.