Pinboard Extra: Shebeen late licence rejected

Twitter has been abuzz with disappointment at the ruling on opening hours at K-Town’s favourite subterranean cocktail bar, Shebeen


Twitter has been abuzz with disappointment at the ruling on opening hours at K-Town’s favourite subterranean cocktail bar, Shebeen.

The application for a 2am weekend licence was rejected (in favour of 12:30am) after a classic up-in-arms NIMBY resident campaign, including a particularly bizarre suggestion of changing the bar’s name to be “more acceptable”, made by a Labour councillor.

With the odd objection coming from as far away as the Inkerman area, Camden New Journal ran a story with the only approving voices being our own and that of food ‘n’ drink sage Richard Ehrlich. However the social media sentiment tells a very different story.


We suggest the views of all residents are taken into account when it comes to clipping the wings of exciting new ventures in the local area. Such rulings send out a very negative message to business-owners at a time when our high street is thankfully bucking the national trend for sporting the boarded-up look.

Shebeen widescreen

Residents groups will naturally and rightly put up a fight for the preservation of a pub like The Castle, but it must be remembered, the reason the building has sat empty for 2 years is that previous attempts to operate it as a viable pub have been thwarted by… residents’ complaints.

It’s simply not possible to have it both ways. Modern city life is by definition noisy, slightly chaotic and necessarily vibrant. There are plenty of silent suburban idylls a little further up the road where any sleep-troubling pubs have long shut down, if you enjoy that kind of vibe. We should all be united in encouraging inner city Kentish Town culture to grow and flourish. Otherwise, to apply an old phrase, we really won’t know just how much we have lost until it is gone.

The venue will be appealing the decision. We look forward to raising a civilised cocktail to their success at 1.45am at some stage in the future.

Words: Tom Kihl

Here’s the live Twitter feed. Scroll down to see opinion on the licence debate.


  • Show Comments

  • PrinceofWalesDaniel

    Agreed. I note that one objection came from the Kelly Street Residents’ Association. That’s what, half a mile away?! And as for Councillor Jenny Headlam-Wells telling a private business what they should be called, she couldn’t sound more clueless if she tried.

  • Tim

    Why are people on twitter necessarily more representative of residents in Kentish Town than Residents’ Associations?

    Residents’ Associations tend to represent residents who can be bothered to be involved in their RA, Twitter represents people who are active on twitter…. neither are better or more representative than the other? But at least Resident’s Associations represent people who have a demonstrable stake in their local area.

    If local people (such as me) like Shebeen and want to object to this, surely a good way would be to influence their Residents’ Association (if the RA was cited as influential) and convince the RA to support the application, rather than only moan on twitter about it.

    • Kentishtowner

      No more or less representative, but if – as has been reported – Twitter was actually used against Shebeen in the application process, then it’s clearly a valid platform for contributing to the outcome.
      RAs are fine, but many people who are passionate about their area won’t want to engage in such a formal way. As we’ve seen from comments here and elsewhere, there is plenty of vocal support for the 2am licence. Hopefully that does get taken into consideration, even if it’s not coming via the traditional channels.

  • Paulo

    I used to at 10 Fortess Road and wouldnt have dreamed of objecting? Why? Because the area was so noisy from all people shouting, singing and trying to kill each other that it wouldnt have made any difference to have one more place open late

  • Ken

    In case anyone is still interested, and for the sake of balance, the outcome of the licensing meeting was as follows.

    Shebeen asked to stay open till 2.00pm Friday and Saturday. It’s license was 11.30pm and food had to be served with alcohol. Residents opposed any change.

    Camden Council licensing committee agreed to extend the opening times as follows:

    Friday and Saturday – Recorded music till 1.00am

    Friday and Saturday – late nigh refreshment/food till 1.00am

    Friday and Saturday – sale of alcohol, 12.30pm. Drinks can be sold up to this time and drunk till 1.00am.

    The requirement to sell food with alcohol was removed.

    So, the owners got 60% of what they were seeking for (they asked for an extra 2.5 hours, they actually got 1.5 hours) and the residents request to keep the hours unchanged was not successful.

    Finally, Shebeen will be open till 1.00am on Friday and Saturday, when most of the other bars/pubs in Kentish Town close at 12midnight. I’d call that something of a result.

  • Julianator

    The decision is an embarrassment for the council. There is no suggestion that KT Road should become populated wholly by bars; this was an attempt by one bar to provide a single local option that can stay open a little later two nights a week.

    The faraway Residents’ Associations that opposed the application need to recognise that KT is changing (for the better) as younger and wealthier residents move in and improve what was a very run-down and unfashionable part of London. As the article says, there’s plenty of living space further out of the city for those who want to live in a quiet, down-at-heel area that has no attraction for anyone under 50; KT is no longer that place and Camden council should have recognised that and approved the application.

  • John Dominic

    Ken makes a valid point here, what’s all these cries of woolf when the bar was granted a later licence so ‘late licence rejected’ headlines do no service to truthfulness