The final AV set up has left Socialite in a position to host events both intimate and large-scale.
With the aim of being an all-in-one bar, the space was in need of an AV system that could occasionally simmer into the background, allowing conversation to flow, while also being able to support live music and DJ events.
Adding to Brighton’s rich musical backdrop, situated in the midst of the Lanes lives Socialite; a lifestyle restaurant, bar and roof terrace specialising in quality food, drink and entertainment. Previously a Cath Kidston store, the space benefits from dimensional transcendence or a ‘Tardis-like’ aesthetic as its outward appearance would suggest a secluded bar with small al-fresco dining area at best, but the interior begs to differ. Socialite offers a prominent, fashionable space and thanks to an AV install from Flipside Soundsystem, it is now built for pure musical appreciation.
With the aim of being an all-in-one bar, the space was in need of an AV system that could occasionally simmer into the background, allowing conversation to flow, while also being able to support live music and DJ events. “A few years back, people used to go to a restaurant, have their three-course meal and then move on elsewhere to enjoy cocktails and entertainment in some form,” explains Socialite Co-Founder, Barry Vera. “But previously, I’ve experienced lifestyle restaurants that are all-encompassing – you’re there for more than just the food, you’re there for a full evening experience.”
To accommodate both intimate and large-scale events for DJ’s, bands and solo artists, Socialite called upon London-based AV specialist Flipside to assist with a full-proof system installation. “We wanted something that we didn’t need to think about upgrading for a long time and could control on our own quite easily,” Socialite Co-Founder, Adam Elliott adds. “We also wanted something that could capture the music, without being over aught with high bass or tinny speakers and we were pretty fortunate to come across Flipside. I felt like we were all on the same wavelength.”
After reviewing several different design options, Flipside opted for a system based around Bosch’s Dynacord Electro-Voice solution. Relying on the EVID Surface S-series mount speakers, 8-inch and 5-inch versions were wall-mounted to the DJ areas, with a 4-inch for the downstairs bar and 5-inch IP-rated cabinet versions installed in the rooftop terrace. “The S-series speakers were the clincher of the whole set up,” recalls Flipside Managing Director, James Cooper. “They sounded really good and can go pretty loud, so they’re a diverse enough range to be able to go in all the different areas.”
Having just missed the electricians in the early stages of install, Flipside needed to wire up the venue from basement to rooftop while the space was at its shell and core. “A lot of credit should go to those guys,” Elliott states. “The ideal situation would have been to work alongside the electricians from the beginning, but it wasn’t an issue for Flipside – they just came in, got on with it and installed it all brilliantly!”
Working towards a full Bosch solution route, the venue also has a Dynacord MXE5 Matrix Mix Engine installed with simple control via a TPC-1 Wall Panel along and power from a pair of Dynacord C-series amplifiers. “We really wanted to try the MXE5 – it’s really powerful and yet really simple to understand and easy to use. There’s plenty of control, lots of nice little touches woven into it and the TPC-1 is a brilliant wall panel - it looks great in that higher end hospitality setting. I always find myself falling back on the Dynacord C-series amplifiers as well, they are just really good value – a reliable, solid, decent sounding amp.”
Using the touch panel controller behind the bar, staff have ease of access by controlling different zones at different times of the day. “Some of us are still in the early months of learning and trying to find their feet around it, but it’s a God send in terms of its situation behind the bar, and it works beautifully without a doubt,” Vera states.
The rest of the downstairs area included EVID speakers installed around the seating areas and while a restaurant wouldn’t usually require subwoofers, Flipside felt it necessary to give the DJ nights as full range as possible and installed a pair of Sen-X subs. “You could arguably go without subwoofers and just put a bit more bass through the 8-inch EVID speakers,” Cooper says, “but personally, I think that sounds awful and no one wants a booming box up on the wall. By taking the bottom end out of the tops and putting it through some subs, the sound scope of the room sounds less intrusive and more of a surround sound which is a lot better for this kind of space.”
For an all-encompassing bar, it was important for Socialite guests to be able to hold a conversation despite music being played all around them. For the upstairs ‘L’ shaped area, the speakers needed to work amongst the furniture layout of banquette seating with tables placed sporadically. “With the seating being along the wall, we simply decided to wall-mount everything because the sound ends up going over-head and more into the centre of the room,” Cooper explains. “I think it actually would’ve been trickier if there were tables in the middle in the room – this way, the music can be appreciated, and you can still be involved in discussion.”
The final AV set up has left Socialite in a position to host events both intimate and large-scale, as Cooper is satisfied the equipment will provide all-round support. “Socialite needed something unique to them and after a few final tweaks and tests and it sounded really good,” he concludes, “It’s given me a lot of confidence in all of the equipment that we used – particularly with the EVID speakers. The reports back to us have been really encouraging, so much so, that we’re currently quoting them a new system design for another venue.”
A project three years in the making, Socialite has gained significant popularity since its recent opening. While serving contemporary British dishes and cocktails with global influences, using the freshest local ingredients with a Brighton touch, the real hook remains in the 70s-80s soul/funk classics pumping through building – drawing guests in and making them want to dance all evening.
Reflecting on the AV install, Elliott states: “Everything we do is about quality, we want customers to come in and feel that we haven’t scrimped on anything and that definitely includes the music, which Flipside have really helped us with. When the sound comes out, you know it’s of high quality.”
Socialite’s parent company is preparing for expansion into Europe in the early part of next year which, considering its praise in Brighton, is bound to garner the same attention. Elliott adds: “I think we’ve brought something that Brighton needed and you can tell that by the way the locals have been receiving it. We actually had two people here for brunch the other day who insisted on buying Barry and I a bottle of champagne because this was one of the first times they had been out, due to Covid, and they were just having such an incredible time!”
He concludes: “It’s not very often that you have a customer wanting to buy you a drink, but it really touches a note when it happens – I think the music in particular brought back so many memories, they were dancing for ages and that’s just what we want to see! They were clearly in a place that was just right for them.”
- 2 ElectroVoice EVID S5.2B
- 2 ElectroVoice EVID S8.2B
- 1 ElectroVoice Zx1-sub
- 2 ElectroVoice EVID-S8.2B
- 1 ElectroVoice Zx1-sub
- 2 ElectroVoice EVID S5.2XB
- 2 ElectroVoice EVID S4.2TB
- 1 Dynacord MXE5 Matrix Mix Engine
- 1 Dynacord TPC-1 Touch Panel Controller
- 3 Dynacord C1300 Power Amplifier
- 1 Dynacord C1800 Power Amplifier
- 1 ElectroVoice PA2250T Power Amplifier
- 4 Single Gang 2xD Wall Boxes Black
- 4 Steel Back Boxes Single Gang Black