Whilst the venue has been a part of Cornwall’s live music scene for around seven years, this year was the first time I’d properly noticed the bar, which sits next door to the Slug and Lettuce. Over the last year, the team have undergone a huge renovation project, including installing an LED light up dance floor and a bigger stage. The makeover has clearly worked seeing as I – who has drank in Newquay for six summers – found myself asking my brother (who’s drank in town far longer) ‘has this place always been here?’ as we headed inside to find a table.
Inside, there’s a bar, stage area, dancefloor, LED dancefloor, and a handful of seating. There’s a subtle cat theme running through, from the name to the moggy murals and cat tables. This is inspired by owners JG and Nicole’s cats, Orla and Nibbles, so you might be surprised to discover the venue is actually really dog friendly!
The laidback bar doesn’t faff with cocktails, but they’ve got a great selection of beers and spirits to choose from, including Jubel Elderflower beer, Tarquin’s strawberry and lime gin, and of course, spirit of the season – tequila. Coffee and honey flavoured shots.
There’s something on most nights at Whiskers, and Tuesday’s see C Bone and Dr Funk take to the stage. The local legends perform jazz, blues and soul covers, meaning you can have a sing and a dance to some Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the likes of for a few hours. Dr Funk has busked in Newquay high street for a number of years, so if you’ve been out and about and spotted his lime green suitcase, then you know the kind of funky night you’re in for.
We’d arrive before 9pm and gained free entry, but after 9pm, it’s just £5 on the door, which is well worth it if you plan on sticking around for the night.
The following day, I headed over to the Whiskers Instagram account and came across a post which said Newton Faulkner would be playing a gig the next day – for free!
The double-platinum artist had played the venue a week previous for his album launch Interference (Of Light), but a blunder meant that 300 copies of the album didn’t make it to Whiskers. As a result, the Surrey-born folk rock artist wanted to return, with the albums, to play a free two hour show on Thursday, August 26.
We arrived just after 11, and met Karl, Mel and Winston there with Phoebe and Frank. Frank was a little spooked by the amp, and was a bit apprehensive about walking past it, but Newton Faulkner was so sweet about it and even chatted with everyone between the songs during the intimate set.
After an hour of tracks new and old, as far back as 2007’s Hand Built by Robots, there was a short break to sell and sign some CDs – so of course, I had to bag one. It felt like such a serendipitous part of the holiday, and because of this, it was one of my favourite parts of the week as it was so unplanned and unexpected. Whiskers was the perfect venue to host, and I can’t wait to head back there next year.