The Night Owl will be the Midland’s first Northern Soul and Motown bar and is set to open in Digbeth mid-July. Northern Soul isn’t just a type of music, it’s a way of life. The records, the dancing, the clothes, the lifelong friends made. No wonder people are still so passionate nearly 50 years since it started. Some of the incredible atmosphere and passion was recently captured in underground hit film ‘Northern Soul‘ which you may remember me shouting about some time back.
Richard Priest has been a Northern Soul fan since his teenage years in the 1970s, a regular at infamous all-nighter parties at legendary venues such as Wigan Casino.
One night, Richard had a dream that he ran his own Northern Soul and Motown Bar. His wife thought he was crazy but it wasn’t long before he’d drawn out a business plan and partnered up with business investor Arith Liyanage. Richard at Wigan Casino age 18 (white shirt):
The Night Owl will have a sprung wooden dance-floor, making it safer for the acrobatics of the Northern Soul dancers. It will also feature a modern spin on the vintage interiors by Stax Creations, the people behind the quirky interior at Alfie Birds and the fantastic exterior of The Old Crown Beer Garden. The DJ booth will be kitted out with vinyl turntables and CDJs with a camera on Northern Soul nights to show the label of the record that is playing. The venue will be fitted with the highest quality sound equipment and an array of beers, wines and spirits will be on offer. Every Friday will be a pure Northern Soul night operating a tongue-in-cheek ‘Strictly No Handbags’ policy, thus making sure Soul fans know not to expect any mainstream soul. In contrast every Saturday will operate a ‘handbags welcome’ policy, with a large disco ball and DJs playing a range of Northern Soul classics, Motown, Soul, Funk, Ska, 60s r & b, and more. Of course, everyone is welcome both nights, with or without handbags, the phrase is more a reference to the music policy. Thursday nights will be Club A-Go-Go featuring DJ Sean Chapman. Open 7 nights a week with full listing yet to be announced, a wide range of events are planned including all-dayers, under 18’s events and live music.
This is the venue that soul fans across the UK have been crying out for, opening right here in Birmingham. It gains its name from a classic Northern Soul record ‘The Night Owl’ by Bobby Paris.