Following my recent Brum Radio blog post, where I ranked Birmingham indie bands by ice cream flavour, I agreed to do a follow-up Clickbait piece, ranking my top 5 Birmingham venues. “Just don’t do anything weird this time,” Brum Radio pleaded. “Of course not,” I told them.

So here’s Birmingham’s top 5 gig venues ranked by quality of toilets.

1. The Sunflower Lounge

The Sunflower Lounge is literally an underground venue (har-har, Tom made a pun, sort of) which prides itself as a “meeting place of vagabonds and rockstars”. Every band in Birmingham is destined to grace its intimate stage at some point, and the venue has most recently played host to artists such as Ivory Wave, Swedish Death Candy, and Pleasure House.

Rock ‘n’ roll vibes and soul food aside, let’s focus on the really important thing: the quality of the toilets. These scores are real and I have definitely not made them up randomly for entertainment value.

Toilet paper provision: 7/10

Hand-dryer power: 4/10

Urinal provisions: A controversial trough system, score subjective to taste.


2. Hare & Hounds

Firm favourite of the Kings Heath contingent, The Hare & Hounds is a genuinely eclectic venue and a cosy pub covertly tucked into a suburban high street. As well as its quirky club nights, it is also a staple venue on the indie circuit, having seen the likes of The Wytches, The Big Moon, Chastity Belt, Table Scraps, The Hungry Ghosts and hundreds more up-and-coming artists to confuse your “mainstream” friends with.

But how does the Hare compare when it comes to bowel movement facilities?

Gig poster décor: 10/10

Bowl cleanliness: 5/10

Tap water temperature: 100,000°, bloody hell, my hands are dying.


3. Mama Roux’s

If you’ve ever asked the question “is there a cool venue I can go to in the cool end of Digbeth which is decorated like a cool, New Orleans speakeasy?” then you’re in luck, though you should also be less specific in your questions. Mama Roux’s is a new arrival on the scene, but has already seen a wide range of bands including Honeyblood, Marika Hackman, Pulled Apart By Horses and Teleman.

Blah blah, cool bands, blah. How does this Clickbaiter rate the urination station in this establishment?

Cubicle cosiness: 8/10

Handwashing facilities: 6/10

Amount I trust the lock: 35%, but I have cubicle-related trust issues.


4. The Flapper

The Flapper is a canalside pub near the ICC, and is the perfect place for an outdoor summer pint or an indoor ear-blasting rock ‘n’ roll gig. As well as featuring bands such as Editors and Muse in their early days, it’s a regular haunt for bands such as Dinosaur Pile-Up, Johnny Foreigner, and up-and-coming artists on the Catapult Club circuit.

Sure. Fine. Interesting. But what if I want to drop the kids off at the pool?

Toilet spaciousness: 7/10

Number of band stickers: 9/10

Phone numbers for prostitutes written on walls: 0/10, they don’t even work anymore, apparently, according to my friend.


5. O2 Institute

Formerly the HMV Institute, the O2 institute is a multi-level venue in the half-cool end of Digbeth. Whilst the smaller upstairs room has featured stuffed, intimate gigs from indie movers and shakers like Superfood, the larger room has featured gigs from larger touring acts like Maximo Park, Feeder, and “Bugzy Malone”, who I’m told is a person.

Enough. We get it. What are the toilets like? Well I’m happy to report they are the crème-de-la-crème. The epitome of facilities. Upon these porcelain thrones one may recline, performing one’s business in absolute comfort. Well, I mean, for a gig venue, it’s pretty good.

Leg room: 8/10

Sink smoothness: 9/10

Hand-dryer power: 100%, bloody hell, my hands are dying.


Tom Clabon presents Indie Mixtape from noon every Tuesday on Brum Radio. It is also available to listen again via the Brum Radio Mixcloud.

Tom Clabon

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Tom presents The Indie Mix Tape on Tuesdays at Midday

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