With current crisis in the hospitality industry because of the pandemic, it hardly seems the right time to be setting up a brand new bar and music venue.

But this is exactly what happened after a chance meeting between Rufus Maurice and Will Greenham which led to the establishment of the Cornish Bank music venue, bar and eaterie on Church Street.

Falmouth Packet:

Rufus Maurice at the bar

The adventure started whilst they were both volunteering to plant trees at Halvasso. They got chatting about music and realised they both had similar interests. Rufus had recently put on a couple of parties in a barn he was doing up and Will had some bands he wanted to put on and the partnership was formed.

The pair had organised a music festival with 21 bands in March 2020, but then we all know what happened next.

"We had big plans for starting a little festival and then Covid hits in March," said Rufus. "It all kicked off and we had to pull it. Our first job was cancelling something like 21 bands and we were a little bit early with it, so the understanding wasn't there. It was pretty hard day."

The Cornish Bank venture itself started in November last year when Will and his girlfriend Gabrielle went to look at the former offices of the Falmouth Town Team in Church Street as a possible venue for a Christmas Art Fair.

"When they came to look at it and he walked in he thought this will be a great venue, but I'm only really up for it if Rufus is up for doing it with me.

"I think he secretly hoped that I wouldn't," says Rufus laughing. "I said I’ll come and have a look then I came down and thought it was absolutely amazing. I was far more excited about than he was.

Falmouth Packet:

The bar area

"It took a little bit of persuading of the landlord. I think they probably thought who are these guys? You know it's bigger building, they were probably hoping for Pizza Express. We sold the idea and I think they seem very happy now."

The pair come from very DIY world where they put stuff together with friends and there is a community kind of feeling throughout the whole project. "It has been a very Falmouth based," says Rufus.

While music is their thing they are also planning on holding regular art exhibitions on a specially reserved space on the wall. There are also plans to create another level by building a mezzanine.

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The audience at The Cornish Bank's first gig Squid. Picture Credit Bryan Robinson Photography

The ethos behind the food served in the kitchen is to be sustainable and organic with local produce and where possible always celebrate the producers.

They want to be affordable and are very keen for it to be a place not just for tourists but for local people and they would like the Winter to be busier than summer.

A membership for local people operates which gives you as a community member you to join 10% off at the bar while as a community arts member you get 15% off food and drink and 24 hours notice of any upcoming gig before anyone else.

The first gig the venue held was up and coming post-punk indie band Squid. The week they were booked, their new album straight in at number one on the UK Record Store Chart.

Falmouth Packet:

Squid were the first to perform at The Old Bank. Picture credit: www.brianrobinsonphotography.com

The gig was reviewed glowingly by The Guardian who located the Old Bank in Falmouth's "Bohemian' quarter.

"They were keen to do small venue performances while socially distanced trying out new material," said Rufus. "They got in touch through mutual friend. That was a coup and a very intense first gig. We were still hanging curtains when they arrived, sewn by Ivan at Halvasso. He finished sewing an hour before they arrived.

"They turned up as we were hanging the curtains. They were very lovely about and relished doing it."

Falmouth Packet:

Squid play in front of the kjust put up curtains. Picture credit: www.brianrobinsonphotography.com

Future gigs include BBC Radio Six Music darling Jessica Hoop, which is sold out, and The Turbans with more to announce.

Rufus says the venue wants to try and establish and add to the existing music scene.

Future plans also include starting a comedy festival and the venue becoming a stage for the sea shanty festival as well as working with Princess Pavilion to put on bands too big for The Old Bank venue.

"I think this place is directly linked to future of Falmouth," said Rufus. "I hope it will become part of its fabric and that we can look after people well enough that we’re here for as long as possible.

"We have a ten-year lease and I would hope to renew it. It is going to take more than just me and Will. We are a business but we like a feel of community ownership, because without that we might as well be Wetherspoons."

You can find the Cornish Bank on Facebook.