Music lovers and conservationists form a united front in bid to save Bull and Gate as a live venue

Thursday, 28th February 2013

Published: 28 February, 2013

MUSIC lovers and conservationists are banding together to fight plans to turn the Bull and Gate pub and music venue in Kentish Town into a gastro-pub.

An application lodged at the Town Hall shows parts of the Highgate Road pub will be demolished and remodelled to create new kitchens and a restaurant area – bringing to an end four decades of live music.

The New Journal, in conjunction with Camden Town music firm Key Production, is hosting a farewell gig featuring Kentish Town band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis on April 12 – to allow music lovers to celebrate the venue’s history and raise funds for lunch clubs for older people in the borough.

Planning chiefs are bracing themselves for scores of objections which could force the new owner, Young’s, to radically redraw its gastro-pub plans.

In a design statement, architects working for Young’s say an “under-used, back-of-house area” will become kitchens and a dining room. They plan to demolish outbuildings and build a patio and glazed pergola.

The current building dates from 1871, although there has been a pub on the site since the 1700s.

John Cryne, from the Campaign for Real Ale, said the pub could easily include a restaurant area without destroying the music venue.

He said: “At first I thought Young’s may be good custodians but then we heard of the loss of live music. This is terrible. It has a brilliant history, and has helped develop so many of our cultural icons.

“Pubs are a great place for various activities such as music and theatre, not just food and drink. Live music and pubs have gone hand in hand for hundreds of years. You can’t help but think Young’s are  missing a trick here. They could easily build on its reputation.”

Music promoter Andy Macleod, who runs the Bull’s renowned Club Fandango, said claims that the venue was not economically viable were incorrect.

He said: “It has helped keep the pub going over the last few years and with the right investment it could be even stronger. With the Forum next door, they have big crowds who want a pint, not a gastro-pub. How will they cater for 2,000 Tricky fans one evening, and 2,000 Justin Timberlake fans the next evening?”

A spokesman for Young’s said: “There are plenty of music pubs in the area. Young’s do operate music pubs that are viable, and ones that are not in areas saturated by music pubs. We do not believe the Bull and Gate is, nor will be, a viable music pub.

“It is all good for those against the removal of the music airing their views. However, it is often the case that if they used pubs more often, less of them would have to close or change their ways.

“Young’s are fighting the pub cause and will continue to invest in their future.”

For details of how to buy tickets for our Bull and Gate gig on April 12, 


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