The Two Brewers is the multi award-winning Clapham cabaret mothership that stands at the beating heart of the London LGBT scene. It’s home to some the UK’s biggest drag acts, but who are the people behind the scenes? Dave Cross had a catch up with General Manager Jimmy Smith plus he asked Jimmy’s six key members of staff what the Brewers means to them.
Hi Jimmy, how has 2017 been at the Brewers?
Incredible, It’s been one hell of a ride, which we are still on. I think that’s down to the team we have here, and the customers who are incredibly loyal.
You seem to have more on each week now than ever before, was that a deliberate plan?
We needed to pull out all the stops to beat 2016 and I think it’s safe to say we have, laughs, tears and all.
What’s been your favourite thing so far this year?
If you think I’m going to incur the wrath of those not picked by answering this, you’re nuts! I loved it all. However, I will say that I just love Sundays and the Power of Three. They are so much fun and actually I can pick Life Is A Cabaret with the London Gay Big Band as one of my highlights this year.
You’ve been using the Club Bar much more this year for shows with Two Box Productions and acts like Miss Hope Springs, tell us more about those…
Two Box have really come into their own these last couple of years and I just love them. They are all so talented and watching them grow and go on to things like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is just amazing. We are always excited to see what they come up with next. We’ve had some great acts in the Club Bar this year and Miss Hope Springs was just a delight, such a great night.
You are now trying out different things too, such as HIIT Club…
We are using the Two Brewers in as many different ways as possible. We are not just the club and bar; we have space for theatre, studio, workout, dance, rehearsal and social activities too. It takes a little bit of extra work helping small groups grow within the LGBT+ community, but we think it’s our duty in this world of dwindling gay venues.
So it’s important to you to do charity and community nights?
I made a conscious decision years ago to do as much as we can to the benefit of the gay community, in as many different ways as possible. The sad truth is so many charities and groups really struggle to get the support they need. So to give them a room to use for free or getting our acts to call out a raffle, if we can then we will.
Cabaret remains at the core of the business – what makes a great Brewers act?
I have been booking cabaret for 25 years now and it has got to a point where I go with my gut feeling. I want every act to take us on a journey – honest, surprising, funny and tragic. First and foremost they need to be the audience’s friend.
What’s on this week that you are excited about?
On Thursday we have a very special night celebrating the career of Michael Topping from Topping & Butch. It’s hosted and organised by Son of a Tutu and features a host of big names including Scott Capurro, Sandra, Kelly Wilde, Dave Lynn, Miss Jason, Maisie Trollette, Lola Lasagne, The Duchess and many more.
What about Christmas and New Year?
As always we have plenty to keep you entertained over the Christmas period including The Cheeky Girls, Pam Ann, The DE Experience, Carols by Candle Light, Miss Hope Springs, Lady Diamond and not forgetting a panto from Two Box Productions. We will of course be open Christmas Day with Mary Mac, Sandra and DJ Demon. New Year’s Eve will be the Power of Three and DJs Demon, Liam Chaplin and Chris Brogan.
Meet the team
Charlie – Deputy Manager
“It’s like a second home to me, with one hell of a family. Just like my real family we have so much fun, but I will tell you off when you naughty.”
Jamie – Deputy Manager
“You know I don’t actually work here; I’m Jimmy’s carer.”
Greg – Assistant Manager
“I have been working with Jimmy for 15 years… I know what your thinking; I must be crazy.”
Agata – Team Leader
“I was working for Reflex and Jimmy ‘borrowed’ me for one night two years ago and I haven’t left since. I’m a team leader, but also Jimmy’s personal assistant.”
Alex – Team Leader
“It’s so rewarding being part of an award winning venue surrounded by winning people.”
Yago -Team Leader
“I’m supposed to be part time two days a week, not six, Jimmy dear. But I love it!”