THE boss of a Bradford music venue says the city centre is becoming a top leisure destination after it signed up a music star for a show.

Rapper Maverick Sabre, who has had a number of top 40 singles hits to his name, will play an unplugged set at The Underground, Duke Street, on Saturday, September 17, and its owner Nigel Booth believes it shows the city centre’s bars and venues are starting to get themselves on the map.

The business, which opened in May this year, has a capacity for around 350 people and has live music from all genres, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Mr Booth hopes the performance will not only give a boost to his own business, but also the appeal of the city centre to visitors.

He said: “It is more about putting ourselves on the map as a serious music venue.

“Maverick Sabre is a big music star. It is a coup for us to get him. He was playing on the main stage at the Leeds Festival last month.

“It shows that we are not just about showcasing local bands. This gig will highlight we are a serious music venue.

“We are going from strength-to-strength. I fell in love with the building when I saw it.

“It has been a struggle initially to change people’s perceptions of what Bradford is and what it has to offer.

“Bradford is now vibrant at the top of town for its venues.

“We want to become a destination and stop people from going to Leeds instead.”

Mr Booth added: “We want to develop as an area. Bradford people haven’t fully embraced our venue yet but we are building with our popularity week on week.”

The Underground has been supported by Bradford Council’s rate relief scheme for new businesses, and he hopes it will bring more people to an area of the city that has suffered from several closing businesses in recent months.

Mr Booth plans to hold a Best of Bradford trade show at his venue later this year, to showcase the work of bars, pubs and restaurants in the city centre.

He added: “I really want Bradford to work. I’m doing it for the passion, not for the money. I want to show people what we’ve got in Bradford.”

The site’s underground theme includes escalator-style bannisters and a large mural featuring a tube map of different music genres.

The business also hopes to continue its expansion by putting in a microbar on its top level for an on-street presence.

Through his work, contractor Mr Booth has been involved in refurbishment of a number of bars in Bradford’s Independent Quarter, and helped organise a street party in North Parade in 2014.