Lock Tavern is not closing and will continue to host live music, says new owner

Promoters urge pub company to continue venue's tradition of supporting emerging talent

Wednesday, 15th August 2018 — By William McLennan


Yassassin perform at the venue in Chalk Farm Road on Sunday. Photo: Luis Kramer

The new owners of a landmark Camden Town venue have rubbished rumours it will be closing and vowed to continue the tradition of hosting life music.

The New Journal can reveal that the Lock Tavern has been bought by the East London Pub Co as part of the firm’s expansion plans, which include the aim of purchasing 20 venues across the capital.

Fans and music industry figures had expressed shock today at reports the venue would be closing its doors.

But Brad Lomas, operations manager at East London Pub Co, said tonight: “It’s definitely not closing. That’s 100 per cent not happening.”

Since re-opening in 2004, the venue in Chalk Farm Road has seen performances from big names including Franz Ferdinand, Metronomy and US rap duo Run the Jewels.

The Lock Tavern has earned a reputation as a sweaty, intimate venue, where up-and-coming bands perform their first big-city gig. It has helped cultivate dozens of emerging artists, famously hosting early gigs for Florence Welch and Adele.

Adele at the Lock Tavern in 2007. Photo: The Lock Tavern

Mr Lomas said: “We understand what the Lock is about. We understand that music is a strong part of the Lock’s history and heritage. We definitely want to keep that. The music that goes on in there might slightly change, but certainly music will continue.”

He said they would not be working with the existing booking firm.

“We are going to have to look at how we schedule music in, but keeping music on at the Lock is definitely something which we are going to do,” he said. “To what detail, I can’t confirm yet.”

Josh Cooper, who organised gigs at the Lock Tavern for Roadkill Records, said he hoped the new owners continue to support emerging artists.

“For bands in their early careers it’s one of those vital venues,” he said. “It’s got a good atmosphere and it’s easy for newer bands to fill. It really is one of those stepping stone venues, from small pubs up to slightly larger music venues. It would be a real shame to lose it.”

Two Tribes perform at a Roadkill Records gig

Promoters have been organising farewell gigs at the Lock Tavern in the coming weeks. An “au revoir” gig, billed as “one final blow out at the Lock”, has been scheduled for August 23 before a “final encore” event on August 27. East London Pub Co will take over the following day.

Mr Lomas said the doors may shut for “a couple of days while we change things around” at the end of the month, before “hopefully” re-opening on August 31. It will retain the same name, he said.

The company would be “significantly investing in the venue”, he said. “We are going to try and make it a more comfortable venue. It’s certainly not going to be turned into a gastro pub.

“We want to keep the Lock Tavern and we want to enhance what it is as the moment.”

He said they planned to have a “better craft beer range, a broader spirit range”.

When the East London Pub Co bought a venue in Clapham last year, director Padraic Frawley, an Irish restaurateur, said: “We are also looking for up to 20 more units in core high street London locations and are planning further openings in 2018. We have a hunger to expand our business with a very strong team who are innovative and well trained.

“Our mission is to produce character rich spaces by creating unique venues offering a modern day pub experience built on traditional values. Above all else, we will keep it real.”

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