I recently went to HMV Ritz for the first time, to see a gig (The Blackout). The venue itself is pretty good – no matter where you stand you can get a god view of the stage – although I do have some issues with the place. Firstly, it still has the damp sticky carpets of the chavy ‘Ritz’ club that it once was. Why a club ever chose to keep the carpets in the first place is a mystery to me. It’s not like anyone is admiring the vintage design on the carpet, mainly because the amount of vodka redbull that has been spilled on it over the years has turned it into a thin, darkened layer around the edges of the dancefloor.
Another strange design choice is the decision to keep tables and chairs in THE MIDDLE OF THE DANCEFLOOR. Well, pretty much. In front of the speakers and stage at least. I mean, come on. They get in the way! Obviously! I can’t believe this needs pointing out! Anyone who walks in there before a gig would instantly think to themselves “They’re gonna move those tables before the band starts, right?” Nope.
But by FAR the worst thing about the place is the absolutely horrendous drinks prices. Horrible prices. Disgusting prices. Prices that are even higher than the prices of drinks in The Hilton or The Palace Hotel. Basically, you’re looking at close to £5 for any beer, bottled or draught (warm, flat draught, that is). I can’t believe they have gotten away with those prices for so long already. Even Manchester Academy hasn’t got drinks prices that high, an that’s notorious for not having cheap drinks! It’s just ridiculous.
They can’t even blame the need for high prices on the recent Administration of the HMV store chain because this particular venue is no longer owned by HMV – It was bought out by a separate company before the company even went bust!
I now find myself in a position where I am less likely to choose to go to a gig at this venue because of problems that I have experienced with it. I know I don’t need alcohol to have a good time, but I really like to have a couple of drinks at a gig and the fact that I would need to take out a bank loan to do that at HMV Ritz means it’s not the place for me.