The supposedly quiet little city of Huntsville in Alabama has some rather unique venues, if you know who to ask. We went there for a convention, promoting Travel Stars and found a much different experience than we expected.
By the time the fourth night of the event rolled around, we knew that the evening venue was going to be something unique. They had taken us to the largest privately-owned arts facility in America housed inside an old factory, an old lumber yard turned into very cool bar, and the US Space and Rocket Center. Night number four had to be something attention grabbing too, right?
After the final night of the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX), the hall cleared out and the event attendees prepared to go to a place called Campus 805, named after the zip code 35805. Much like the other evenings, we had worked right up to the moment we needed to head out, which gave us scant time to investigate the venue. All we had was a name, an address, the word that it had something to do with a school.
We arrived to find a sprawling venue. From the outside, it looked like a high school. Our parking space was by the football field. Yes, a football field and there were people on it kicking around a soccer ball. Clashing with the experience of walking up to a high school, loud music blasted from an open patio next to the field. People drinking beer and eating pizza talked loudly over the music. It looked like a good time. The patio led to an open roll up door that looked like it had once led into a gym. This gym, however, now housed large ale brewing tanks that reached to the ceiling. Next to them, the remaining space held a stage and chairs where a comedian spewed out jokes to a crowd she had captured. Harking back to the theme of a high school was a host of bicycles chained to the fencing that protected the brewing equipment. Confused yet? It was a bit disorienting. Those things just don’t go together.
We passed through the brewery-gymnasium and into a hallway with a bustling bar just beyond it, filled with loads of people at every table. But let’s go back to the hallway, because the bar looked normal enough, the hallway did not. Stretching a hundred yards, the hall was lined with lockers. We couldn’t help but explore. It confirmed what he had heard. This was not venue made to look like a high school, this was a high school that had been turned into a venue. The old restroom still worked and some of the classrooms were still there. One of them had been turned into a pinball arcade, while a small office where students might have checked in now served hard liquor!
We thought we had seen the gist of the place when suddenly a set of lockers slid to the side and a pair of people walked out. An attendant then slid the lockers back into place, concealing the what lay behind as though it had never existed. It turned out to be the Campus 805 Speakeasy. Pretty cool!
Hunger ended our exploring and we headed back to the bustling pub. New friends from the convention sat with us and we had a great time chatting it up. The food was good and we had a great night. We did, however, have to take one last walk through the halls of the high school before we headed out.