Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar is closing down at the end of this year. It was announced today that the Middle Street venue, which has become such an intrinsic part of Brighton’s music scene over the last seven years, is due to shut its doors on December 31st.
We don’t yet know why the venue is closing, or if there is anyone interested in buying it at this stage – though it is possible that a new owner might choose to continue to use it for live music. Of course, as we’ve seen before in Brighton, when a music venue closes it tends to stay that way.
Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar opened in July 2011 (replacing a previous bar called Jam) and was named after a famous Manhattan joint that manager Sally Oakenfold visited in the 1990s. In addition to live music, the 200-capacity venue has hosted comedy shows, videogame events and regular DJ and club nights.
“Running a grassroots music venue is a battle,” Sally told us. “You’re up against licensing, council restrictions, noise, development, landlords. It’s never-ending. But we carry on because we appreciate the value of spaces like Stickies.”
The venue still has a busy schedule with the likes of Wargirl, Middle Kids and Aidan Moffat all booked to play over the coming months. Advertised events are still going ahead, and shows planned for the new year are being moved to the Hope & Ruin and East Street Tap. The venue plans to go out in style with a New Year’s Eve party which will probably be both brilliant and a little sad.
“We’d like to thank all the people that have supported us over the years,” added Sally. “And all the many acts that have gone on to bigger and better things. The concern for the future is that without places like this it will be less and less of an option for people to start bands and club nights or start promoting, or just have fun listening to live music.”
An announcement from the Music Venue Trust laments the closure of Sticky Mike’s and sees it as an example of a wider problem that is urgently affecting venues across the country.
“It’s a perfect summary of where many venue operators/owners find themselves,” says the announcement. “Rent, rates, costs too high, profit margins non-existent, a new development coming at them which inevitably means noise challenges, a decaying infrastructure it’s too expensive to maintain, licensing conditions which cut into business… it’s a mess and not of their own making. Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long.”