“ Address: The Colonnade / The Cellar / Lind St / Ryde / PO33 2NE / Isle of Wight „
The Wight Rock Bar is one of Ryde's best bars, mainly due to its intimate setup and modern décor. Most 'trendy' bars in Ryde generally don't have 'trendy' people in them; they are usually populated by complete donuts. People who love to catch their own reflections in the mirrored bar surrounds and have the shortest skirts known to man.
The Wight Rock bar is different, it doesn't have a generic clientele, and it's used by younger people as well as older people. The main reason it has stood the test of time for the past few years is that it tends not to play chart music, but 'classic rock'. Right up my street. Rather than have to listen to the latest Ne-Yo arse dribble, you can listen to some classic tracks from 'Hello' by Status Quo.
The bar isn't huge and is actually a basement bar, similar to the 'Cavern'. I expect this is why Shawn and Debbie (the owners) have chosen it. Its got a small stage, several smaller pods and enclaves for small groups of people can sit. I've seen a band play there, but the stage is a little small for a massive band.
The Rock was one of the first bars in Ryde to introduce a smoking ban, which was great for not going home stinking of 800 fags. The only annoying thing about the venue is having to go down a flight of steps and then into a crowd of smokers before entering the small double doors. This can be a little intimidating, especially when it's the wrong sort of people.
The décor has been tastefully done, not like 'Chicago Rock' which is tacky. It has the classic rock feel, with photographs and discs and things, but not the imitation instruments. The lighting is well done, without being either overbearing or dark and dismal. Its always very clean and tidy and being new has no obvious sign of wear. The toilets are probably the best kept and best looking in Ryde, which goes a long way to the overall ambience of the place.
The Rock has a selection of different evenings to suit different tastes. There are quiz nights on a Wednesday, the occasional club night and independent 80's evenings to tie into 80's nights at Ryde Theatre. The Rock is used by many as a pre-concert venue by people who go to the Theatre for gigs and concerts.
Price-wise the Rock isn't cheap. Most lagers set you back close to three quid, but then again you can get a pint in 'Spoons a couple of doors away for 99p- but then again it's the surround that you pay for. You don't mind paying over the odds for something if you can enjoy it without the hassle of not getting a table or getting 'grief', like in some other Ryde establishments.
Shawn and Debbie are great bar owners, always cheerful and friendly whenever they are behind the bar.
The Rock is a perfect place to start your evening. It gets quiet later on and by that time most of us have gone to Yelfs or Spoons, but The Rock is an excellent venue - well worth a visit if you're ever on the Isle of Wight.
Located in Ryde, 'The Wight Rock Bar' is a small venue which represents a decent port-of-call for an average Saturday night wander around the town's numerous pubs.
The building is accessed via a set of stairs, which takes you to an outside smoking area and then to the bar itself (which is predominantly underground). Once inside, the venue is quite small, but feels spacious due to the areas of seating which are imbedded into coves in the wall. The decor is very modern, with a kind of wine-bar minimalist appearance - you know the sort of thing - wooden floor and cream walls. The lighting is fairly dim, which I quite like, as I never really enjoy having one of those piercing halogen bulbs pointing right in my face... some pubs i've been in make me feel as if I should have applied sun-block before I went out!
The building apparently used to house a topless bar, but that was years before it was taken over by the present owners - I can imagine though that it would have been quite seedy down there in its below-stairs location - good fun too I expect.
One of the reasons I like the venue is the fact that it plays classic rock, punk, and alternative music rather than whatever is in the charts at the time - hence the name 'Rock Bar' I suppose. It's also quite a quirky establishment as you can buy guitar strings and leads etc as well as a pint!
Often The Wight Rock has live bands playing, and also comedy nights. The stage is really tiny, but it's entertaining to see a band crammed on there! There is also a music quiz, but I can't remember which day it's held on.
In terms of getting a round in, drinks prices are probably around the average, but certainly not as cheap as somewhere like Wetherspoons - but then not many places are.
On the whole, The Wight Rock Bar is a decent pub which is a good place to visit if you want to hear a bit of decent music. It's never really packed and there is usually quite a relaxed atmosphere down there. If you're ever in Ryde on the sunny IOW, give this place a visit!