Andrew Christopher Anfinnsen, has always been in love with music and connecting people. So much so, he is embarking on creating a local’s hub – the Lokal Bar.
Anfinnsen spent much of his childhood in Switzerland after his family moved there from Drammen when he was seven. When it came time to further his studies as a young adult, he decided to return to Norway, and landing in Trondheim, it just fit. He’s been here ever since.
Anfinnsen was looking for a way to insert himself into the city as he didn’t have a network to call his own yet. He found himself joining Studentersamfundet and spent four years in the bustling atmosphere that provided him with both a social and cultural community. Anfinnsen jumped into every opportunity working behind the scenes and then in booking and promoting the many events happening there. All the while he was studying to earn a Bachelor’s in Media Studies at NTNU.
By the time he had been in the city five years he had landed a professional gig booking concerts for BrukBar. “Like my taste in music at that point, I started out with putting on indie rock shows – until I discovered how exciting club music and DJ culture could be, with all the great nights out at Supa club in the basement. Marius Thorvaldsen (runs Work-Work now) and Svein-Erik Ihlen (started Diskoteket) were in charge back then, and I picked up a lot from them in terms of musical variety and booking skills. A few years later I was booking both live shows and club nights for a living.”
“Everything got kind of shook up when BrukBar moved in with Blæst back in 2014 though. A lot of people were sceptical to the venue “merger”. For me, and a lot of happy punters, it turned out to be a great though short-lived adventure. We had a blast (pun intended) with some of the most exciting live bookings in recent years as well as bigger club nights.” You can see the memories flooding back to Anfinnsen when you hear him speak about these sorts of days.
But it isn’t just the moments inside the club that he remembers with such fondness.. In asking Anfinnsen about his standout moments he has a moment of indecision. “There are so many to choose from! Last year, I was asked to program the newest stage at Pstereo called «Forte», focusing on DJs and danceable sets. On that Saturday, the festival had its rainiest day ever. Turns out, Trønders in colorful rain ponchos make for a happy dance crowd! Everybody lowered their guard and really let themselves loose”. One can only imagine, if having not been there, the sight that must have been and how it speaks to the magic that music has.
“Another more personal moment was when the excellent Sun Kil Moon, or Mark Kozelek, played Blæst in 2016. It was the night after the very tragic and horrific nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.” This is when you can see that the job of a booking agent becomes more than just someone plugging musicians into empty venue spaces. “Kozelek is known for his direct and poetic lyrics, and he performed a song he’d written the same day on his flight to Trondheim about the shooting. It made for an intense moment with a spellbound audience. The song was aptly named «From Bergen to Trondheim» and was featured on his next album. Though I wish there was a less tragic context to that performance, the connection that was made between artist and audience that night was so heartfelt and strong, which is what live shows should be about.”
When you put all his experiences together is it not surprising when Anfinnsen says that he saw something missing. He wasn’t alone in this either. “Me and a group of friends had been looking for a spot of our own after BrukBar / Blæst closed down, but it’s not easy to find available spaces in Trondheim. By the time we found something suitable, we were itching hard for a new kind of club. Some friends even started moving away for lack of good places to go out! So that was the time we figured – we have to do this.” Thus, the concept and plan for Lokal Bar was hatched.
“The ‘gang’ behind Lokal Bar is myself, Aleksander Schei and Jørgen Sellevold. We’ve known each other for several years, crossing paths working with various club nights, events and festivals, eventually becoming good friends before deciding we wanted to start something together. Then there’s our investor Halvår Sivertsen, who we are incredibly lucky to have – he shares our values and has excellent taste in music! Our first employees as bar managers, Morten Prytz and Caroline Sørensen Skaget, are also well on their way to shape the concept along with us.” His excitement for this project is very evident.
When asking about the concept for the location, famously home to Frakken and the old D12, be prepared to be wowed. “Lokal Bar is going to be bigger than the name suggests.” Anfinnsen says proudly, “We’re spreading three distinct concepts over two floors. We’re creating an intimate craft cocktail bar, with just enough seats for our bartenders to stay in touch with everybody. It’s going to be lush with a lot of greenery, and a great spot to take your date while expanding your palate on drinks.”
“Then there’s the former piano lounge,” he continues, “which we’re turning into a small stage with a well-assorted beer and spirits type of dive bar atmosphere. We’re hoping to do 1-2 shows every week – indie, hip-hop, electronica, jazz, everything goes. But it’s meant to work as a relaxed watering hole most weeknights as well.”
The basement is still the spacious place it ever was and enough so to be considered one of Trondheim’s biggest nightclubs. On weekends, the walls will be shaking with the sound of big, big subwoofers, and the ceiling lit up by a pretty ingenious lighting design. Considering how to cover multiple genres they are going to spread the nights evenly between disco / house / techno and hip-hop / r&b / the rare pop night. On weekdays, they intend to experiment with the room as an all-purpose event space.
As if that is not enough, in a very clever move they have found a way to make sure that Lokal Bar shares one license allowing guests to move about with beer or cocktail in hand. They realized they could have opened three different places around town, but what fun would there be in that?
Anyone embarking on their own business adventure can’t solely rely on the love of it alone though. As Anfinnsen puts it: “It’s a pretty big step for us from being somewhat idealistic music promoters to running our own place. That’s probably the challenge I’m looking forward to the most – nailing the business aspect of it while retaining our values and ideals. It’s important for us to keep a friendly and familiar vibe for our staff as well as a safe space for our guests looking for something different than the often brash and vulgar vibe of mainstream clubs. If we can achieve that, stay true to ourselves while drawing out a big enough crowd to keep us going as long as possible…
I’ll have a toast to us!”