BY ANNABEL PRIBELSZKI
I met up with Laura Chatburn and Sarah-Jayne Brook, the proprietors of Junkyard Dogs, 142 Edward Street, Brighton.
Junkyard Dogs is a completely independent multi-arts venue, with a welcoming and vibrant café/bar and separate black box performance space. You can enjoy live music, comedy and spoken word events. They host art exhibitions and offer private party hire, as well as serving great food, coffee and booze.
Laura and Sarah love welcoming and hosting their visitors, offering a warm and friendly atmosphere. “You can come alone or with friends, and feel at home, day and night.”
Laura describes the idea behind their funky establishment. “It was a combined idea of Sarah’s desire to start up a food business, selling fancy hotdogs and lovely coffee, and mine of having an events space, presenting art and entertainment of all genres and forms. Above all, we wanted to make sure that people could have a good drink! When we saw this property was available, we knew we could make both ideas work together.”
Laura explains their business background: “I had worked in theatres for years, as front of house, in catering and programming. Sarah is a wonderful chef who has worked in lots of interesting foodie establishments. We had both run bars and events at festivals too, so there was a bit of ‘all sorts’ between us.”
Sarah describes the delights she cooks up in the kitchen: “We do a great all day cooked breakfast (meat, veggie and vegan) for only £6, with a cuppa. Our range of hotdogs is available day and night, with toppings from pulled pork and onions (the ‘Doggity’), to sauerkraut, gherkins and mustard (the ‘Katz’). All our hotdogs can be meat, veggie or vegan, as well.”
A Junkyard Dog customer can expect “a warm and friendly welcome, day and night, in our bright and colourful bar. Interesting artwork on the café walls to enjoy, good tunes playing, great food and drinks, and some top-notch live entertainment.”
“During day times we are busy cooking up our excellent breakfasts, hotdogs and coffee. Friday and Saturday evenings are buzzing, full of live music, comedy shows, private parties and beer!”
What are your top three Junkyard Dogs moments?
“Getting the doors open in the first place, and seeing people start to arrive, after months of hard work. Our bonkers first birthday party; celebrating getting into our second year was both a relief and a really exciting moment, knowing we had created something that works and that people love. And, of course, winning the Brighton Fringe 2017 Best Venue Award.”
“2017 was our first year as a Fringe venue and after programming, and seeing, 50 amazing shows took place in the theatre space over the month, and we were truly delighted to win. The fact that so many audience members and performers voted for us was an amazing feeling.”
Laura enthuses about Junkyard Dogs’ regular events: “The ‘Comedy Rocket’ on the final Saturday of every month is hosted by Ali Macfarlan and is always an absolute blast! We also do an All Female Comedy Open Mic every other month, and our Cards Against Humanity nights are riotous!”
“Any acts interested in performing should email email@example.com with a bit about yourself, what you do, the kind of night you might want to put on or be involved in. We love hearing from anyone with an idea for a show or event!”
The Junkyard Dogs Brighton Fringe 2018 programme has “One hundred absolutely amazing performances taking place, with comedy, spoken word, storytelling, theatre, and a lot more comedy! We’ll be open seven days a week, day and night as well, so come for a drink and see what we’ve got on, at any time.”
Laura and Sarah also host wonderful art exhibitions, which change every four to six weeks. They are part of the Artist Open Houses trail.
“We’ve got a cat-themed Open House this year, with ten different artists exhibiting their brilliant work. We launched this along with our Fringe programme on Friday 27 April and had lots of great people come along!”
Future plans include growing and developing the programme of live entertainment, with more weekend takeovers.
“It’s really exciting to look towards our third birthday in August. We are also planning some great stuff for the summer, Brighton Pride and beyond!”
Junkyard Dogs is at 142 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JG
Opening hours: 9am – 5pm Monday to Thursday, open late Friday and Saturdays.