London Mourns Even More Alternative Venues Shut Down

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The Lounge rock venue outside Archway station in north London is to be turned into a nursery and restaurant. While the venue has only resided in part of the closed Archway Tavern building, it has grown into a huge hub for London’s goth and metal scenes that have been forced out of more central establishments like The Intrepid Fox in Soho, which is now a Byron burger restaurant.

One of the first announcements of the decision came through the popular goth and industrial metal night Reptile, which said its August edition would be its last at the venue.

Sick, Angry and Sad

“It’s with extreme shock, bemusement and anger that I can can confirm that after two amazing years, Nightclub Kolis will be celebrating its last weekend at its current location, The Archway Tavern, on the 9th and 10th Of August,” said bar manager Arno Von Detritus. “A planing permission to turn the building into a nursery has been been filled in with the local council. We are currently actively seeking a new location, looking at different venues and hoping to resume our services back to normal in a new home as soon as possible.”

“You can imagine how sick in the stomach, angry and sad this makes me. I worked my ass off for 2 years to build what is now a integral part of our community just to be told that once again we had to go. Onward and forward though, no time to be moaning or sulking.  This is just another challenge. And challenges are a gift,” he said.

Long-term leaseholder of the Archway Tavern, Dr Imtiaz Sardar, said the project was “family orientated, community friendly”. In addition to a nursery, he told The Islington Tribune that a bar and restaurant would be the only option for the site remotely similar to its present role because of the competition brought by low-cost supermarket alcohol.

“All the stakeholders are aware of our plans and have no objection. The relevant regulatory authority, Ofsted, is dealing with this application for a nursery. People in the community have been sounded out and they all welcomed it,” he said.


One regular club-attendee took to the London Assembly Talk London online forum to draw attention to the issue. “So much for the promises that London’s valuable nightlife will be saved, through the appointment of a ‘Night Czar’ and Nightlife commission. It seems that this promise only extends to fashionable high profile nightclubs and our city’s alternative community loses yet another venue,” they said. A city hall spokesman said the issue had been referred to their policy team.

Another response said the last 20 years has seen alternative venues “decimated” in London. “The Intrepid Fox was forced to close down on Wardour Street and is now a burger place. Gossips was turned into a fancy wine bar and is now a hotel. Live venues such as the Mean Fiddler and the Astoria are gone along with Sin and there is no more Intrepid Fox. Madame JoJo’s is gone.” They also said Camden Market has become a tourist attraction with the closure of many alternative shops.

Underdog Gallery Under Threat

In a similar case The Underdog Gallery – an arts and culture venue in London Bridge – has been threatened with having its music license revoked after a local resident and landlord made complaints.

“We strive to make our locals aware and welcome to the cool events we hold at The Underdog throughout each year on a monthly and weekly basis,” said a spokesman. “During the past few months we have had problems with a local landlord and neighbour who have taken exception to our business and the eclectic events we hold dear to the ethos of our gallery. The complaining party have requested to have our recorded and live music license taken away. This is a big part of our business model and we will fight to keep the right to promote, expose, and give up and coming musicians/DJ’s/live artists/visual artists and creatives in general the opportunity to practice their chosen art in cool surroundings, supported and enjoyed by local people, tourists, art and music lovers from all over London.”

The gallery faces a license review on August 13th and is appealing for messages and emails of support to help their case. More info on their Facebook page.