SWX in Bristol issue major update on plans to reopen city centre venue

More detail has emerged on what the venue in Nelson Street will look like on reopening

A major refurbishment of a major music venue in Bristol city centre is ‘well underway’ - and could feature a roof terrace, it can be revealed.

SWX in Nelston Street was forced to close due to severe damage after a fire a week before it was due to fully reopen last July.

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However, since then work has been ongoing to reopen the venue, also known as The Works and Syndicate, for club and music nights, with tickets already being sold for events from this September.

This week, its owners Electric Group gave an update to BristolWorld as more details emerged on what the refurbished club could look like in an application to vary the licence of the venue to Bristol City Council.

The proposed variation covers ‘reinstatement’ of the venue’s three floors following refurbishment, a new entrance with main stairs designed to speed up entry and brand new customer toilets.

There will also be new bars, decor, lighting and flooring as part of the overhaul, while the total capacity will rise from 1,823 to 1,950.

SWX was forced to close when it was targeted in an arson attack just a week before it was due to reopen last July

In addition, the venue wants to turn the existing flat roof into a customer terrace, while the possible opening hours, 11am to 4.30am, would remain the same.

The extra detail comes in the same week Bristol City Council approved plans for a new three-door entrance with electric shutters, which will improve security following the fire last year.

A spokesperson for Electric Group said: “Work is well underway at SWX and the venue will soon be ready for action once more. Everybody at Electric Group is really looking forward to the doors swinging open again.”

The company, however, would not be drawn on an opening date, but the indication is that it will be before September, with American singer-songwriter Amber Mark booked for September 1, followed by rapper Dizraeli on September 3 and metal band Gloryhammer on September 9.

During closure, gigs planned for the venue had to be moved to other locations in the city.

In December, Owen Marshall, 29, of Royate Hill, Greenbank, was jailed for six years after pleading guiltyto charges of arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered in relation to the fire at SWX.

He posted a petrol-soaked towel through the venue’s letter box two months after threatening to do so in a letter. Firefighters spent hours tackling the blaze, before it was finally put out - but the damage had been done.

At the time, venue owner Dominic Madden told Bristol Live he was determined to begin planning to reopen the doors again, adding ‘the show will go on’.

And now it appears the venue, which was opened in the 1960s, will be open to music once more soon with an announcement expected in the coming weeks.