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  • “It's relatively small, so the experience with the band is pretty intimate.” in 8 reviews

    Music: Live

  • “AWESOME experience and one of the best gigs I've ever been to” in 8 reviews

  • “The stage is small, and not greatly separated from the crowd, so performances feel much more intimate.” in 8 reviews

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    • Qype User Lee_Ro…
    • London
    • 58 friends
    • 82 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/6/2010

    I saw Alice in Chains here

    AWESOME experience and one of the best gigs I've ever been to

    The crowd were wicked, we bought multiple drinks as it was absolutely crammed and the whole night was one long great experience!!!

    Definitely go and see bands here

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/2/2009

    Went here for the Meetup Americans Abroad Super Bowl party. I was impressed with the size of this venue. Had a very big open dance floor, two easy access bars, a coat check downstairs (£2), and a decent sized stage. When you walk in, it looks kind of like a church basement but with bars.

    Granted I was here with a bunch of other Yanks to watch the Super Bowl, but this was a great event. The bars were fully and efficiently staffed, and the wait time was very short; with a room full of American Football fans, quick access to beer is key!

    I hope to get back here for a show to see what the crowd is like and how it sounds for bands.

  • 3.0 star rating
    20/12/2010

    3 words: club de fromage

    Unfortunately, there are so many other words that i can't give this place more than 3 stars. I think I'm just a bit too old. I used to go here a lot though, for the cheese.

    The whole place is slightly... sticky. Might be those over-priced jelly shots.

    And it's in a shopping centre, and it always has a queue of goths outside it at 3pm, which can be disconcerting.

    It's fundamentally a student venue, and it does what it says on the tin - the odd good act plays here but basically it's about the cheese.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/2/2010

    I can't believe I'm actually admitting it, but I love their Club de Fromage night on a Saturday. Whenever I've ended up here after beginning the night fairly civilly I always wonder what/who/why/how?! whilst having a word with me, myself and I in the bathroom, but jokes aside I can say I've never had an uneventful night here.  

    Due to the fancy dress theme, from 80's to 'bad taste' (aren't they the same?) the incredibly cheesy music (get ready to throw some shapes to the ghost buster theme tune, oh yeaaaaaah), cheap drinks, young student crowd (or still re living the student night experience, yep, me included) and utter lack of pretension, this night is totally awesome, er, man.

    It's a messy meat market, just a few highlights include; a slippy floor covered in drink spillage (well it's hard to sing along to Chesney Hawkes AND keep a steady hand), lots of pervy boys who enjoy grabbing you (whether they're trying to cop a feel or simply trying to steady themselves post 99p vodka who knows, probably both) and DJ's who do old school shout outs that are reminiscent of bad family parties and wedding receptions. Have I sold it to you yet?

    You've got to try a little piece of Fromage once at least, but I wouldn't advise doing so sober and just a note: if you see me in there, you didn't O.K?!

  • 3.0 star rating
    3/10/2009

    The heavy bass-line beats at Underground Rebel Bingo, twinned with the hedonistic, cursing and yelling of the hosts, meant I massively enjoyed my first trip to the academy. The venue itself felt like a student bar, there was nothing classy about it, it simply was the kind of venue you can let loose.

    As for the clientèle: There are a multitude of young ladies to gorge on who by all standards look like they'd enjoy being feasted on. The heavily inebriated gents... sorry lads seemed to enjoy watching them cavort on the stage, whilst chugging back beer in plastic glasses.

    The drinks at the Carling Academy are cheap, the dancing manic, the noise levels high and most importantly a very up for it young crowd.

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/5/2010

    A guaranteed great night out is always to be found at Club de Fromage. I've seen the coolest indie kids and gloomiest goths cast of the shackles of oppression and throw some cheesy shapes to Rick Astley and Gina G.

    But if you cringe at disco and hate the thought of pop - don't let my description above put you off. The kind of cheese they play is the finest camembert, rather than mouldy cheddar. If there is such a thing as good cheese...

    There's The Supremes, The Beatles and The Beach Boys as well as many many more hidden treasures.

    It pulls in a friendly, fun crowd who like cheapish drinks and awful dancing. Those who fear fancy dress need not apply.

  • 2.0 star rating
    14/1/2010

    Music Academys' should be somewhere cool, N1 Shopping Centre in Islington is not cool. It's the epitome of mainstream, people who go here wear Next and Monsoon and start there night with a drink in the Loydds No. 1 bar. Like I said, it's not cool.

    Yet here they hold some pretty cool nights here, Rebel Bingo, Club Du Fromage and still I can't like it. Full of kids with too much pocket money and guys who don't wash as they think it makes them edgy. Erm, no. Please have a bath. If there is a band playing that you want to see then this is a nice little intimate venue but it does lack atmosphere, and reasonably priced drinks. Oh yeah, and a style or class from the punters is absent too, more O negative than O2!

  • 3.0 star rating
    1/12/2008

    I always find this venue a little odd. As a previous reviewer mentioned, she found the fact it's in a shopping centre odd. I do to! I know it's silly, but it almost puts me off for some reason... surely bands can't rock in the middle of a shopping centre? Well, they can and they do.

    My friend's bands have played here a few times. I like the venue's sound, the set up is simple. It's not the best but it's quite small in comparison to Carling's other venues, which makes a wee change.

    Many bands have played here, even Oceansize, which I wouldn't expect for some reason. The bill is usually quite good and the location is pretty perfect, the tube is only 5 minutes walk away...

    I wouldn't hunt this place out, but it's good enough for a typical rock gig.

  • 3.0 star rating
    30/11/2008

    I have a soft spot for the Carling Academy in Islington as I came to see Dilated Peoples here when I was 16 for one of my first gigs in London. More recently I have been for the fun Club de Fromage night.

    As Leanne said in her review it is relatively small compared to the other Carling Academies. However, when you're there it still feels like a large venue and whilst nothing special in terms of decor it is can feel like quite the night out.

    I'd recommend the Academy as a place to see a mid level (in terms of fame) band or for the Club de Fromage night.

  • 3.0 star rating
    14/12/2008

    The Carling Academy Islington is venue that doesn't really excite me. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the performance area feels like a dance floor with a stage. It lacks the character that the other established venues have.

    Size wise it is nice. The capacity is small enough that you get an intimate performance but large enough to feel like a big gig. The placement of the bar means that whether you are at the front by the stage or at the back, the bar is easy to reach. Considering how many people can be in the place at one time, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got served.

    The doorman was also a nice chap on my visit, letting us back into the venue after a gig when we found out that the act we had gone to see was doing a signing upstairs.

    The place does hold one fond memory though. A few years back I went to see Chicane play and for the encore they were joined by Sir Tom Jones for their latest single at the time Stoned In Love. That was simply amazing.

    Parking near the venue is available nearby in the N1 Shopping Centre car park (which charges a ridiculous amount) or if you're lucky you might nab one of the few spaces in the surrounding streets. The roads around the venue are normally really congested so for a stress free experience, public transport is recommended.

    • Qype User gotige…
    • London
    • 83 friends
    • 92 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    27/6/2008

    I really don't know how to write this review - mostly because I'm confused about what I'm reviewing.

    The story is that, like a bunch of other people with tight wallets and too much time on the internet, I won two tickets from Time Out to go and see a gig at the Carling Academy in Islington.

    The venue itself is OK. I love live music, I don't mind Carling and Islington is quite local so the place has a few good things going for it.

    Inside was very dark, but this created a good buzz for an early starting gig. It's relatively small, so the experience with the band is pretty intimate. There are hardly any seats either so the experience is very much about standing and dancing.

    The prices were a bit steep - 3.50 for a pint - but the tickets were free so that's not too bad I guess.

    The first two bands were OK. Sort of garage bands of the type you get at the Dublin Castle in Camden.

    The main act though was a band called Plastic Little - a hip hop outfit from Philadelphia.

    The difference in quality between them and the other acts was very stark. Like having your auntie who plays the piano a bit opening for AC/DC!

    Plastic Little were great. Really great - even if you are not that into hip hop - they put on a very entertaining show.

    The funny thing was the audience. Here was this uber cool international band - who's demographic I imagine would be young, quite likey black, or hispanic - certainly very trendy and hip hop savvy - yet they were playing to a bunch of white 30 somethings, mostly male - who looked like they had learnt to dance via a free internet course (I don't exlude myself from this description)

    Anyway it was a top night - especially for midweek.

    So the venue is OK. Time out free tickets are worth chasing, and if you get a chance - see Plastic Little.

    • Qype User Marshy…
    • London
    • 68 friends
    • 89 reviews
    2.0 star rating
    4/2/2010

    Smallish venue in the heart of Islington. They are a bit anal about their security rope and ticket stubs.

    We'd got free tickets to an NME gig and wanted to make sure we got in but also get some food and have a decent pint across the road rather than the overpriced shandy they serve in these venues. Security man didn't take kindly to us getting tickets and turning about face. Apparently the paper stubs are the property of the venue and shouldn't be removed.

    Anyway, despite this nonsense from the head of security throwing his weight around, the venue itself is OK, nothing to write home about. (and yet, here i am...)

    if there is a band you want to see playing here then go, but i wouldn't make a special trip..

    • Qype User 78appl…
    • London
    • 36 friends
    • 59 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    1/9/2008

    Academys are not normally my favourite places/gig venues but this gets a special mention for super-friendly bouncers. yes, that's right - friendly bouncers!

    Oh, and inside's pretty decent too with loads of fun, different club nights on (i.e. headphone disco, rock karaoke) as well as gigs. Sound is pretty good and you can easily get a good view of the stage and normally doesn't take too long to get served.

    • Qype User joeg…
    • Swindon
    • 3 friends
    • 23 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/12/2008

    Firstly I don't like Carling Academys mainly for the over priced drinks and tickets. They also bought out my local venue, and never seen a good band play since then!
    But after all that I would have to say this is a great venue! Set aside from the other academy's i've visited on my travels!

    • Qype User Leen8…
    • London
    • 10 friends
    • 58 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    2/1/2011

    Decent enough place to go to if theres a gig you want to go to.
    We went there for a gig once, and for some reason the guys at the door were confused about what door we needed to use. Security is mental, i think we constantly got asked for our tickets right up to the point in which we actually entered the room!

    The place is small enough to obtain an intimate setting.

    The bar is along two sides of the room. The drinks were fairly priced, if a bit watered down with too much ice.

    Overall, ok.

    • Qype User Ador…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 19 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    10/12/2007

    It's not every day one gets to see a shopping centre slowly fill up with the queue for a black metal concert. For this sight alone I would like the Academy; however, it's also just a good venue. The stage is small, and not greatly separated from the crowd, so performances feel much more intimate. Given that the venue itself is also very small, you'll have to try pretty hard to get a bad view.

    As it's owned by Carling, if you've been to the much larger Academy in Brixton, you know what to expect from the bar; in a nutshell, lager and shots, expensive. However, Sainsbury's is just across the road, so queue-picnics are easy to arrange. Nearby is Angel Station, on the Victoria Line, and King's Cross isn't too far so night buses are generally around as well.

    Generally, my opinion can be summed up as: if you are seeing an awesome band, seeing them here is a definite bonus. Have fun.

  • 2.0 star rating
    26/9/2009

    i was told that this was the hottest night to hit up in islington. a new incarnation of a secret night with exceptional music, hot babes, hot guys, hot... toddys? i dunno, but either way, it was meant to be something pretty fun.

    well, following the usually elusive clues to get to the venue, i find myself by the cinema in the shopping centre by angel tube. I remember the last time I was there - to see a distant friend's band play earnestly in support to an even worse band. this precedent doesn't help any venue, let alone a club night at said venue trying its hand at being a bit bigger than it used to be. This does not bode well.

    So, to get back to the point. As experience goes, this night habituallly (at least as far as i knew) exists in the crypt of an islington church and is a pretty rad experience. However, this particualr incarnation of the format seems to have morphed into some hellish re-hash of the worst night of your undergraduate student years.

    Crappy music, interspersed with a powdered-up gent screeching bingo numbers at you isn't my idea of fun. The concept - brilliant. Past experiences - brilliant. Add a bunch of London students in a venue that resembles the lounge on a ferry, and the result is something that is as abhorrent as a family pack of KFC in a vegan camp. Avoid at all costs, save up for the throwback concerts being held downstairs. Also, remember that covering yourself with marker pen was something you did when you were spazzed out on WKD. Don't do it.

  • 2.0 star rating
    24/6/2010
    Listed in music

    it's a venue chain, I wouldn't say I had a bad experience. but it wasn't anything special either.
    I did appreciate that they had AC, and that there was a good amount of security at the show, but it felt very organized and mainstream for a punk venue, I WANT anarchy and more forgiving stage guards who don't grab  the minute he gets hoisted up while crowd surfing. I think they could have worked on the exit/entrance.. if they had made it a little wider, or had 2 of them maybe  I wouldn't have felt like a wrangled cattle on the way out.

  • 3.0 star rating
    29/11/2008
    First to Review

    The smallest and least popular of the Academy Music Group venues in London (the others being the popular Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire), i would suggest the reason Islington fails where the others succeed is the location. This venue is literally in a shopping centre?! It feels a bit like being 17 again and trying to get into the local nightclub when you're waiting to get in here, watching people going to the cinema next door on a date; something just doesn't feel right. The capacity is another bummer; a mere 800 compared to the 4,720 at Brixton.
    As for 'what's on'; well once a month on a Friday sees a really cheesy and predictable 'i love 90's' night. I'm not opposed to the idea in the slightest - hell i still wear my clothes from the 90's - but this is just too cheesy, and not the good stuff from the decade i did most of my growing up in. There's also a monthly night called 'Feeling Gloomy' that seems to coincide with The Smiths tribute bands playing, so i assume will be all things Morrissey, although I've never been (i am morally offended at the thought of anyone imitating the great man). The venue also attracts much smaller, unknown bands although watch out for the UK Beatbox Championships 2009 London Heat in February (that should be fun).
    All i can advice is to check the website and see if they have anything coming up that's of interest. I wouldn't recommend going here unless it was to see an act you really like. A nightclub in a Shopping Centre, why does this perplex me so?!

  • 2.0 star rating
    15/6/2011
    Listed in Music Venues

    I've seen the Raveonettes perform twice here, and they are a good band! However, I don't know why they keep choosing this venue, other than it's small (and they have a rather small cult following, although some would say massive, but that's probably globally rather than London alone), supposedly intimate and it's located in a trendy part of town. However, this venue's sound system really lets them down and I know they can sound better as I've seen them before at a completely different venue. The venue also has poor sight lines, well, if you're a 5ft 6 woman like me and you have several 6ft plus blokes standing in front of you. If those two things could be improved, e.g. a good view of the stage for all, but I guess a sloping floor will never be installed lol and an improved sound system then I'd possibly raise my rating by a star or even by two stars!!!

  • 3.0 star rating
    23/2/2012

    A very functional venue. I've seen some great bands play here but to be honest it's not a special venue. Being quite small if the band I'd popular, it'll be uncomfortably rammed They old have basic drinks Luke turbot, so it's not a great place to drink either. If your going for the place, don't bother but for a band well do! A little known fact is that there is also an upstairs, so if this is open there might actually be somewhere to rest those weary feet but the view up there is very limited.

    • Qype User Ech…
    • London
    • 54 friends
    • 83 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    20/1/2008

    The Islington Bar Academy is an intimate venue, which is a great place to see unsigned bands at a reasonable price. I saw a battle of the bands style event here with bands from different uni's playing. I found it had a great atmosphere, because the place filled up quite quickly because of its size. Plus the cinema is opposite and the shopping centre, so if you get peckish later on after all that drinking then Sainsbury's is good for a sandwich.

    • Qype User Seren0…
    • Cardiff
    • 106 friends
    • 183 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    8/8/2010

    I have only been to this venue once, which is a shame since I remember really liking the vibe of this quirky bar/music venue. The acoustics are perfect for small music gigs and is just the size for a relaxed evening. I would have given this venue a 2 star when it was owned by Carling since the beers were expensive for a very limited choice dominated (obviously) by Carling. But now owned by O2 this place has redeemed itself and given Islington a real place for some good quality music.

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/3/2011

    Fantastic venue,spacious,clean and brilliant sound quality. Im a regular visitor here and recommend it.

    • Qype User TakiTa…
    • London
    • 14 friends
    • 37 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    13/12/2007

    There's two parts to the Islington Academy. The main Islington Academy is a spacious room with a big stage and two bars with £3 pints where fairly large bands play fairly large gigs to fairly excited audiences. The Islington Bar Academy is a smaller offshoot venue linked to the Islington Academy proper, but I've never been on a night where walking between them has been allowed. The Bar Academy tends to put on clubnights and smaller shows that are cheap to get into and occasionally has drinks offers in, whereas the Academy itself is like the Bar Academy's rubbish older brother. Worth going to the Bar Academy for a clubnight, not so worth going to the Academy for anything other than to see a band and then go home.

    • Qype User kateya…
    • London
    • 3 friends
    • 89 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    29/7/2010

    Interesting place to attend a gig - the inside is suprisingly large for a venue situatied in a shopping centre, but is convenient for residents of more North London suburbs.

    Security are very unfriendly, as are bar staff, prices, as with most gig venues everywhere are astronomical and the choice is very poor.

    The floor is generally clean though, as well as the toilets - they must use some amazingly strong cleaners!

    • Qype User Pengui…
    • London
    • 1 friend
    • 67 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    2/6/2010

    I don't go to a lot of gigs, but a singer I really wanted to see performed here so I bought a ticket and went along. The venue is quite small, which was cool, but there's no seating so only tall people get to see the stage. It sounded great, but I feel like I missed half the show by not seeing my fave singer perform because I couldn't see or get near the stage. I don't think I'd bother going here again.

    • Qype User alys…
    • London
    • 4 friends
    • 15 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    13/7/2009

    There are two parts to the academy: upstairs and downastairs. Upstairs is tiny and downstairs is not much bigger. They are both lovely venues though.

    Upstairs is very intimate which can mean there is not much of an atmosphere, however, if the band is good they will be able to create one :)

    Unfortunately there is no cloakroom upstairs- so pack lightly :P

    Downstairs is also quite intimate and generally has a nice atmosphere. Also it DOES have a cloakroom which is VERY useful!

    The downside to both parts is that the bands are normally quite small so the gigs are a bit hit and miss. However, I LOVE IT!

    • Qype User Electr…
    • Southend-on-Sea
    • 1 friend
    • 13 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    18/10/2012

    What an odd little venue. Firstly the location of urban shopping area is a tad out of the ordinary for something like this, but it is rather conveniently located, only 2minutes walk from Angel Tube station.Once you get in, there is a cloakroom on the lowest level, then you have about 25 stairs to climb and you are ejected into a mezzanine floor, theres (fairly clean and spacious) toilets here and then there is a further 6-7 steps to climb before you get into the venure proper.We came away thinking that it looked like it could have done with a little extra pizzaz. There appears to be a contrast of styles going on, the main foyer, stairs and mezzanine try to emulate the older West End Venues but the main room looks like its going for a more recent East End Urban look.The main room is basically a big rectangle with a bar running about 1/3 of the way down the left side wall and the stage at the far end. The sound was pretty good and loud and had just the right amount of echo for my liking but ultimately its a pretty uninspiring place to be.The bar seemed a bit on the expensive side from what I remember elsewhere in London apart from the O2.I must be honest, I wouldn't bother returning for one of the club nights.

    • Qype User svince…
    • London
    • 4 friends
    • 88 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    16/1/2009

    I have to admit that I've not been to the Carling Academy to see bands play, largely because no bands that I like have played there recently. However, I have been there on Saturday nights for Club De Fromage. As the name suggests, this club play cheesy music. However, it is not the music that makes the atmosphere so great at Club De Fromage, it's the little extras like the weekly raffle to win a pasty. The crowd here is always friendly, unpretentious and up for a laugh.

    • Qype User aliirk…
    • London
    • 18 friends
    • 25 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    27/9/2011

    great place to go to i had a great time there sexy ladies and nice crowed with great dj's you can not go wrong.

    • Qype User natash…
    • London
    • 4 friends
    • 49 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    12/6/2008

    cool venue! quite small so good seeing bands there!

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