The Fighting Cocks, Kingston

Kingston is known, at least to me, as a neverland where people can pretend it is still the early 2000s and they are still skinny teenagers with jeans tight enough to make them need a doctor. Consequently, adored punky acts have been drawn there over the years, many of which The Fighting Cocks pub hosts in their little venue. I myself was never a fan of Pop Punk growing up, but I do like some bands the pub have showcased (AJJ, Against Me! and Jeff Rosenstock).

You can be aware that an act is a bit under-the-radar, but social media and message boards can make you forget how little-known some bands are. I had been a fan of Rosenstock for a while before I saw him there, and the price of the tickets (around £8) and the intimate size of the venue were surprising. 

The gig itself was great. Sometimes you can get a bunch of shy hipsters and a room and it can be pretty lifeless, but the atmosphere was great thanks to the band and the crowd. At a big gig the musicians up on the stage always seem like larger-than-life characters to me. At the Fighting Cocks, no matter where you are, you see everyone as a human being. 

The pub space is pretty small, and the drinks they offer are nothing special. For example, the cider selection includes the typical music venue stuff. I will say that both times I have been there the guy at the bar was amazingly charming and nice. Seriously, he improves the vibe of the place all on his own.

The place has a biker aesthetic, not quite in line with the style of the people coming to see the music, but a pretty distinct look nonetheless. The men’s toilets are plastered with leather clad pin ups for example, and hopefully the ladies’ has something similar. They also have pinball, and even though it is just a solitary machine, it is a good one (Street Fighter II).

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Check out their website and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming shows here.

Also, their shows are often presented by Banquet Records, a local music shop. We may be talking about them soon!

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