A FORMER storage area has been given a new lease of life as one of the city's most exciting arts venues.
The basement at Glasgow's Merchant Square has proved a massive success for its first few gigs and plans are under way to use it for other types of events.
While patrons of the bars and clubs mingle on the cobblestoned pavements above, audiences can go underground to enjoy concerts, exhibitions and theatre productions in the unique concrete vault.
The industrial-looking space, with its grey concrete walls and floors, has a capacity of 270 and was used for St Patrick's events in March and last weekend, when West End bar Rio Cafe staged a three-day pop-up event The Rio Club as part of the Glasgow Jazz Festival.
Jenni Morrison, Merchant Square operations manager, said: "We thought the basement could be an interesting space, so we cleared and painted it.
"We've since put on a number of concerts and we found it worked really well.
"It's a blank canvas and we're talking to people about putting on future events such as theatre productions and art exhibitions."
Liz Davidson, former project director of the now defunct Merchant City Initiative says the space could be a new cultural asset. She said: "Merchant Square has had a lot of work steadily put into it in the last decade and it's very Merchant City to put the space underneath to a cultural use.
"There's always a rush of creative interest and talent and I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will want to use it."
A spokeswoman for the Glasgow Jazz Festival also said the space was "an exciting addition to Glasgow's music and club scene".
Merchant Square was originally designed as the City Bazaar by architect, John Carrick in 1885 and included the bazaar, fruitmarket, shops and assembly halls. Until the 1970s, the Old Fruitmarket used the building which later reopened as an indoor market until owner Merchant City Properties bought the site from Glasgow City Council in 1996.
They transformed it into a £13million complex with pubs and eateries.
Iain Maclean, co-owner of Rio Cafe, was keen to use the basement for his event.
He said: "It's basically a concrete cube and we put a PA system in down there and it sounded phenomenal.
"It's a lovely space and I just fell in love with it."