Iconic Birmingham music venue The Flapper saved from demolition and will reopen in July

A beloved music venue in the heart of Birmingham which was destined to be bulldozed for flats has been saved at the eleventh hour.

The Flapper. Photo: Google
The Flapper. Photo: Google

Iconic pub and alternative music venue The Flapper closed its doors in January last year sparking fears it would never reopen again.

But now, with support from people and Birmingham City Council, the family-run business on Kingston Row will reopen in July.

Owner Samantha Campbell-Whyte said: "When The Flapper closed her doors in January 2020 everyone thought that was it, that the venue would never open again. I’m thrilled to say that’s not the case. The resurrection of The Flapper is so important for independent bars and grass-root music venues, as it shows that not all sites earmarked for demolition actually go ahead.

"Since The Flapper was saved from demolition we’ve been in talks with the landlord about her future. The pandemic hit and the brakes were applied – it was touch and go for while. But now, after months of much needed renovations and conversations, we are looking to re-open in July.

"In short, I could never really let go of The Flapper. I love the venue too much; she means everything to me. Now she’s back I’m making sure she never faces any threat ever again. The business is still family run, with the added bonus of my husband, Noel, joining the team. We’re just so excited to open the doors and serve Birmingham and beyond again with great drinks, great music and great live shows."

The Flapper will reopen on July 21 and has undergone extensive renovations – including to the roof – to keep the building in a good condition for years, as well as fresh paintwork, a new colour scheme, updated bars, wooden floors and new lighting, along with the large canal-side beer garden being spruced up. It is hoped live music gigs will start back up in October.

The owner added: "The venue will remain free entry - except for larger events and gigs – as it always has been and we cannot wait to have bands back and making these shows accessible to as many people as possible. We’ll also be collaborating with local businesses to ensure we’re also supporting our fellow Brummies.

"We want the word spread far and wide that The Flapper is opening and it will business as usual - live music, DJ’s, affordable food and drinks, all in a safe, welcoming venue for everyone. The building has faced threats of demolition on and off for 10 years and our main objective now is to really promote that the venue is back for good and the threat has gone. We want all Birmingham gig goers, bands and promoters to know that our gig room will be re-opening in autumn this year and we welcome hearing from local talent."

Originally built in 1969, the pub was called The Longboat before being taken over by The Firkin brewery in the 90s and named Flapper and Firkin. In 2007, Sam took over the business and the venue became known simply as ‘The Flapper’.

Sam added: "The voices of all those that protested to Birmingham City Council that The Flapper should not be demolished were immense and a massive factor in saving the building. Along with the council recognising the importance of the venue - on all its levels - and respecting the area and its residents.

"It’s exciting that another amazing Birmingham independent is back alongside all the other amazing venues this city has to offer. It’s been blood, sweat and literal tears to get to this point, but we’re so excited to give her the welcome home she deserves."

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