Our news story yesterday on the Junction Tavern’s sale prompted dozens of you to tweet your concerns about the continuing quality of this most famous Kentish Town gastropub. So in the first of a new series, today we pinned down Camden Bars’ Ben McDonald, the new owner, for a quick chinwag.
Where are you from then?
I’m about as local as a Kentish Town local could be, having been born at Royal Free hospital, brought up in Bartholomew Rd and schooled at Torriano and Haverstock. And I’m delighted to be taking over what many consider to be one of the finest public houses in London.
What are the plans for The Junction?
Our initial plan is to try and maintain the high standards set by the previous owners. There will be no immediate or drastic changes especially on the food side, which I understand people are keen to know as this area is so highly thought of. Once we have settled in, over the next month I’ll then be able to make some tweaks – but don’t worry, I have 10 years’ extensive experience at the Lord Stanley & the Crown & Goose, both of which I ran for lengthy periods.
As mentioned, we will be maintaining the gastro food side of the pub with the possibility of extending our menu and offerings in the near future. Looking forward to utilising the lovely garden space too with some exciting BBQ’s.
What do you think about Young’s taking over the Bull & Gate?
Reluctant to answer this until I have a better idea as to their plans, however I do strongly encourage them to maintain the live music roots and history of the venue. Best not to try and replicate a gastro-style pub when we have enough sites doing great work locally already.
Will you do live music like the other bars in the group?
There are no immediate plans for live music but, once settled, I do think this an area we could look at. The conservatory especially lends itself as a beautiful setting for acoustic evenings and more – but again it’s very early days so watch this space.
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