Now that the end is nigh for the Bull & Gate, Kentish Town’s most famous small live music venue, isn’t the door wide open for this peeling, rather forlorn old boozer?
Readers will remember its moment in the sun came and went as The Flowerpot (2009-10), with its crystal-ball championing of global artists like Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling. Recent incarnation Heroes reopened with a spanking new sound system and solo gig from Carl Barat of The Libertines. Yet the venue was plagued with years of complaints over noise and anti-social behaviour, finally shutting its doors in 2011. So come on Club Fandango, Wheelbarrow, Barfly, whoever – surely somebody with some cash can take it over?
Otherwise we all might be looking at yet another block of flats. Yesterday a reader emailed us a press release from developers AG&G which says that “this handsome, late Victorian building on the corner of Castle Street and Kentish Town Road is now in search of a new purpose. The freehold is for sale for offers in excess of £1.6 million. It will appeal to developers / investors seeking to re-let the ground floor and basement and convert or extend the upper floors to create a number of flats – but it could also remain as a pub, bar or restaurant.”
And let’s not forget this is a historic drinking hole in its own right, built in 1849 as replacement for the Castle Inn, whose pleasure garden once extended west to the now submerged River Fleet. Even better, after the death of a certain Admiral Nelson, his distraught mistress Emma Hamilton relocated to Kentish Town to live near the Castle (and Nelson’s uncle) – ie, in what must now be Heroes’ weed-filled garden.
So is this a strong contender to step into the Bull & Gate’s shoes? After all, we need to safeguard Kentish Town’s famous live music scene. Yes, someone responsible needs to take over who can work with local residents on the aforementioned issues. But Kentish Town needs to cherish its roots, right? What do you think?