Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a regular feature which highlights some great businesses. Here we profile Smile Bar & Venue, the former Top Spot Snooker Club, in Aspley.

Huddersfield’s latest café bar and live music venue is planning a VIP launch party next month – but they’d love some special guests to drop by this weekend for old times’ sake.

Smile Bar & Venue – the former Top Spot Snooker Club in Wakefield Road, Aspley – first opened its doors to customers three months ago but its main hall music venue, which holds up to 1,000 people standing, is only just up and running.

Back on December 8 1993 Top Spot hosted a gig by an up-and-coming American punk rock band called Green Day. Around 40 people were there.

This Saturday that same band – now slightly better known! – return to Huddersfield to bring their delayed Hella Mega Tour concert with Fall Out Boy and Weezer to the John Smith’s Stadium.

Smile Bar co-founder Richard Harrison is planning a big launch event but would have loved to turn the clock back and get Green Day to perform again in the venue which hosted one of their first ever UK gigs almost three decades ago.

“I would have loved to get Green Day down for an intimate gig – even just a couple of acoustic songs in the café bar,” said Richard. “That would have been amazing.”

Richard has tried to get his invitation to the band but was told there’s a clause in their contract that they can’t perform within a six-mile radius within six months of the John Smith’s Stadium concert.

“I understand there might be contractual issues but it would be great if we could just get the band down for a photo opportunity outside,” he said.

“We have tried every possible avenue and I’m sure if we could have spoken to the band themselves they would have said yes. The gig was on December 8 1993 and I would like to think they remember playing here.”

The place has changed a bit, of course. Richard and business partner Andrew Hields have invested a six-figure sum in creating the new venue with a café bar at the front and a large music hall cum party venue at the back.

The snooker hall is now the music hall and 10 full-sized snooker tables were recycled to create a large 6 metre by 3 metre stage.

The stage in the music hall was made from 10 snooker tables

Every other Wednesday the venue hosts an open mic live lounge where anyone can request a slot and turn up to perform.

While Richard would have loved Green Day to rock the stage (even gently) his venue isn’t about big name bands.

Coming up there are Freddie Mercury and Fleetwood Mac tributes but Richard also wants to promote new music and young bands too.

The venue is multi-purpose and at the end of May staged a fundraising event for the Samantha Sykes Foundation. It can seat up to 300 people.

Smile intends to offer ‘season tickets’ for England matches during the World Cup, which starts in November this year.

The kitchen for the venue is due to be completed shortly and then facilities will be fully up and running.

There’s currently a bar snack menu in the café bar but a new menu will be introduced when the new kitchen opens.

Richard has run an online radio station dedicated to unsigned bands, Smile Radio, from his home in Dewsbury since 2018 and plans to create a new studio upstairs. He’s currently talking with Kirklees Council and the University of Huddersfield about training programmes and learning opportunities for young people.

He’s keen on collaboration and wants to cross-promote with other live music venues and bars in Huddersfield town centre.

“We can all work together,” said Richard. “Everybody should be able to make a drink out of it.”

READ MORE: Into the Spotlight highlights some great Huddersfield businesses

Smile also offers a Corporate Coffee Club where people who work from home can escape the four walls for a few hours and work from Smile. There will be deals on drinks, snacks and cakes and free high-speed wifi.

Richard is just keen to spread the word now and added: “We have lots of regulars but we keep hearing from people who come in from Almondbury or Waterloo who say: ‘We didn’t know you were here and we drive past every day!’”

Smile is open Wednesday 12 noon-8pm; Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12 noon until 12 midnight; and Sunday 12 noon until 8pm. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For more go to the Smile website HERE or take a video tour HERE.