TWO friends and bandmates have combined their experience of the live music scene to relaunch a town centre venue.

Jen Burgess and Cait Costello, better known as folk punk duo Hello Mabel, have clubbed together to run The Old Town House.

The pair had previously been regulars at the Buttermarket Street venue – which has also been known as The Doghouse and The Brewhouse over the years – and were sad to see it close at the end of February.

So they decided to take on the business themselves.

Jen, 32, also works at Parr Hall and has event management experience while Cait, 26, is in Warrington folk punk band The Roughneck Riot and has toured all over Europe. So they have used their contacts and experience to turn The Old Town House into an alternative music venue after three months of renovation work.

Jen, who worked at Parr Hall when the Stone Roses staged their reunion gig there in 2012, said: “We were sad to see another venue close because it seems to be what is happening more and more these days.

“Not just in Warrington. It’s happening everywhere. Manchester has lost quite a few good venues, places in Liverpool have shut down in the past few years.”

When they were given the keys the venue was all black so they brightened it up with a new paint job and bought new furniture. But the main change has been turning the storage cupboard into a kitchen.

They now offer pizzas and snacks with an emphasis on vegan junk food. The vegan ‘meats’, made from soya and seitan (wheat gluten), are homemade.

Cait, a former Lymm High pupil, and Jen currently run the venue with the help of their partners Manu Mayoral and Gazz Burgess.

Jen, who has lived in Warrington for 11 years, added: “We wanted to put our mark on it. We did it all ourselves with the help of a lot of friends. It was a very DIY project which is kind of what we’re about anyway in terms of music.”

Jen and Cait aim to have live music every weekend for up to 120 fans at a time.

Cait said: “It’s all free so far but later in the year we’re going to get some bigger touring bands in and start to do some ticketed gigs. For now we’re just easing ourselves in.”

Upcoming performers include former Warrington Music Festival headliners Blast Tyrant on Saturday and even a punk band from Dubai, Fat Randall, on Friday, July 28.

Jen added: “As much as we can gigs will be free and when we do charge it’ll be a nominal amount like a fiver. The idea isn’t to rinse people of their cash.

“It’s just to cover your costs and make enough money to allow people to come and watch good music. It’s something a bit different as well. We made a decision not to have cover bands because there are other venues that will put that sort of stuff on.

"Having original bands on is good for us because it’s a different product that you’re offering to people but it’s also good for bands. “There’s nothing worse than when you can’t get somewhere to play in your hometown.

“We’ve got a French band coming over in October and we’ve had a couple of enquiries from bands in Germany.

“We’ve seen the other side of it in terms of going to Europe and seeing what little DIY venues do over there. They’ll pay you, they’ll feed you, they’ll give you somewhere to stay.

"Sometimes it can be lot more difficult in the UK to do that. We’ve also had some nice support from Hop Co and Hernando’s Hideaway and other places in the Cultural Quarter in getting started.”

The pair are already thinking about plans for the next few months too. Retro gaming nights, exhibitions, themed quiz nights, ‘drink and draw’ and expanding the gig offering are all being considered.

To visit The Old Town House website click here