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A tribute to Richard Forbes

By Keith Taylor

A few hundred words are not enough to pay tribute to a character that has made such an impact on so many people in so many different ways. But for those reading this who knew Richard Forbes, you will have your own memories.

Richard was born in Aberdeen and studied in Edinburgh. Straight out of University he became one of the founding few at Renegade Communications - band and club promoters in the late 1980s, based at the iconic Venue on Calton Road. The Stone Roses, Nirvana, Jamiroquai, Pure, Tribal Funktion, Disco Inferno, all part of his story, and him part of theirs.

After a brief stint opening The Garage nightclub in Glasgow, a small basement bar in Edinburgh’s Broughton Street came on the market. Richard and his sister Lynn bought, built and styled The Basement Bar, and in December 1994 changed the Edinburgh scene, and inspired businesses for decades to come. They put Broughton Street on the map, and followed the runaway success of The Basement with first one Smoke Stack two years later just across the street, and another in Leith.

Marriage to Karen, and then the gift of two beautiful children gave Richard a different perspective on life, and he settled for the past 10 years in the first Smoke Stack, shedding the other restaurants. Always the entrepreneur, he also ran holiday-let flats, camper van hire, cycle tours and whisky blending sessions.

For anybody who has dined, or drank, or stayed with Richard in any of his

businesses, you will appreciate a little of the style, the confidence, the desire to do the right thing and do the best thing. He put so much of himself into his work and he will be sorely missed but very fondly remembered by decades of staff, customers and friends. (Keith Taylor)

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Matt H Kennedy
Matt H Kennedy
Jul 29, 2020

A lovely tribute Keith. I can’t imagine Broughton street with him. I owe so many of my favourite times, favourite stories and favourite people to him due to his hospitality, his generosity and most importantly, the loyal, warm and hugely fun people he surrounded himself with.

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