Bull & Gate finally due to reopen


The former music venue has now been given planning permission to relaunch as food pub



All-clear: Bull & Gate will finally reopen later this year. Pic: Stephen Emms
All-clear: Bull & Gate will finally reopen later this year. Pic: Stephen Emms
My word, it’s all go in Kentish Town right now. In the same calendar month that the new cinema has been approved, subterranean cocktail bar Ladies and Gentlemen was given the green light, new all-day bistro Upstairs is to open in the former Mamma Mia, and the Torriano is being rebooted as the Rose & Crown, Young’s have finally been given the all clear to get to work on the Bull & Gate.

“We’re thrilled that planning permission was approved by an overwhelming majority,” says Young’s director Patrick Dardis. “The council committee recognised that it is clear that Young’s proposals will much enhance the venue, retaining and enhancing original features, bringing this historic, community pub back to life.”

Of course, it’s a shame that the music venue will no longer exist – in fact, read our paean to its closing night right here – but we would 100% rather have a pub that serves good food and drink back open and packed, than yet more luxury flats – or, worse still, a boarded-up knackered old building. Wouldn’t you?

And the once-iconic music pub – which famously has seen everyone through its doors from Blur to Coldplay – has, lest we forget, been lying dormant for nearly 18 months since the owners sold it amidst protests that its future was simply unviable.


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But anyway, with yesterday’s approval, that’s all now in the past. And, interior revamp aside (see box), what happens next? “We have been busy planning an amazing menu,” says Dardis. “Food will be fresh, simple and seasonal and will include all the pub classics as well as some lighter, more delicate dishes. On our bar you can expect to find a range of cask conditioned ales as well as craft beers, spirits, cocktails and a selection of wines from around the world.”

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So what exactly are Young’s plans for the iconic building?

“The existing bar will remain, as will all the original features, including the wall, ceiling features and décor” says Patrick Dardis. “The over bar, the bit that holds glasses directly above the bar, is from the 1970s (or even 80s) and will go. Don’t confuse that with the back bar, which is original and will stay.

Original signage: Bull & Gate
Original signage: Bull & Gate
“Elsewhere the plan is just to decorate existing features. The current loos will become additional bar space, with all important features retained. A new ladies’ is moving to existing office space that was behind the bar, where no historical or important features exist.

“The main works will be refurbishing the virtually derelict back room: that was the music venue and any features that may have existed were removed many years ago. It’s in a shocking state, dirty and dark. This will be an extension of the pub, serving British food.

“The gents is moving upstairs into what was originally one room, with good features that many years ago were knocked about and turned into two separate living rooms. We are merely turning it back into one room – and retaining every bit of anything that is of interest or original.”

The last word? Reader Fred mused earlier this year in our comments section: “It’s a pity that the music venue shut, but nobody was prepared to put their money where their mouth was, buy and run it. As an alternative between flats and a pub selling good beer, I far prefer the latter.”

What do you think?

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For more details of exactly when the pub will open head to the pub’s website here

  • Show Comments

  • Gilo

    I note Annie’s bar has finally closed. Hopefully will re open as a pub/bar

  • Tim

    This is great news. A gastropub with fresh food, cask ales and nice fittings is exactly what Kentish Town needs. Credit to Youngs for being really imaginative and creative. Can’t wait to never drink there.

  • Marky C

    I’m glad that it will remain a pub, but Youngs pubs tend to be pretty bland and dull. Can’t see myself frequenting the place.

  • John

    Well as others have said, better it’s a pub than more flats or a Tesco. But Young’s pubs can be a bit sterile.

  • Dean

    I think it’s got to the stage where I’d rather a pub was converted to flats rather than another generic ‘gastro’.