When the Gasometer opened on Smith Street last year – transforming the former Irish drinkery into an American diner-style hangout – it was essentially a great bar inside the shell of giant pub. Part of its charm since has been the owners’ relaxed method of adjusting and expanding as their clientele grows.

Last week the growing number of bands putting on shows in the hidden backroom – whether friends of the staff or bands who have approached them via word of mouth – saw it install a new speaker system. Without fanfare, the gesture further pushed the Gasometer’s pin into the live music map.

Despite rarely accommodating a crowd larger than a young, barely known band can attract, the room is cavernous, with a mezzanine level and its own bar. It also has a retractable roof for summer shows, though manager Leige Jansen says it’s not as carefree an operation as it sounds: last summer brought rain and more rain and the roof takes a while to close.

For cosier shows there’s yet another room above the main bar via a staircase from the dining room. It’s a lounge-like area with couches and stained wood furnishings, like the sanctuary of a reclusive writer from the 50s. It also has its own bar, meaning a $4 Tecate can is never far out of reach.

Without a website the best way to keep track of what’s on is through the Gasometer’s Facebook page.

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