A SWISH Hampstead bar is on a collision
course with its neighbours over plans for late-night drinking.
Objectors Dee Townsend, with children Lara, 3, and Felix,
7, Donald Hill and Kevin Shields
Room 68 in Heath Street formerly the China Dream restaurant
and, before that, the Horse and Groom pub wants to open
until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, and midnight the rest of the
But worried neighbours view the proposals as an attempt to turn
a venue that was once a restaurant into a loud, late-opening music
A flood of protest letters to the Town Hall has included objections
from residents group the Heath and Hampstead Society and
Flask Walk Association,
Philosophy teacher Donald Hill, who has lived in nearby Mansfield
Place for nearly 30 years, said: This is a conservation
area believe it or not not a honky-tonk arena for
idiots. The adjacent footpaths, Streatley Place and even Mansfield
Place off it, already serve as convenient places for vomiting,
urinating and general littering, especially on Saturday night.
The bar is thought to be a favourite with Hampsteads resident
celebrities seeking a night free from paparazzi and gossip columnists.
According to objectors, one event at the bar last year was a denim
party with a strict guest list entry system.
Objecting to the proposed new opening hours, David Loewi, who
lives in Back Lane, has told the Town Hall: I believe the
variations are likely to adversely impact on my private amenity,
disturbing my quiet enjoyment of my home and keeping me awake
until the early hours of the morning.
He added: There has been an ongoing problem with noise and
disturbance coming from Room 68 in the past, people leaving late,
shouting to one another or trying to hail taxis.
Resident Bobby de Joia, who lives in Streatley Place, said: As
I am already disturbed late at night by boisterous foot traffic,
it is difficult to imagine how much worse it is likely to be with
Another near-neighbour Kevin Shields added: As a musician
I really object to being forced to listen to music I dont
like while someone else makes money. The worst are Dido remixes.
Its a classic case of they dont give a damn.
When I built a studio in Camden I spent £70,000 getting
it soundproofed. They pump their music out at 120 decibels.
Police have raised concerns and in a letter to councillors Sergeant
Bob Dear has warned: The terminal hours requested are both
excessive and inappropriate.
Room 68 manager Danny Gates said: Were totally different,
were going for exclusive members not kid clientele.
Were here for the community, not to cause a scene. We just
want to provide that extra drink.
We dont allow entry after 11pm. If we get live or
amplified music like a DJ it will be once in a blue moon
Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, or if we hire a room
out to private parties they might want a DJ. But that will be
less than once a month.
In his application for later hours, bar owner Antonio Motisi added:
We will liaise with members of the residents association
to ensure our clients do not cause any nuisance. We are fully
aware of our neighbours and respect their need to work and sleep.
After closing time, the immediate area is checked for litter that
may cause a nuisance.
Councillors are expected to hear from the pub and objectors at
tomorrows (Fridays) meeting before making a final
decision on the later hours bid.