Our piece on much-loved cocktail bar Knowhere Special and all-day diner Somewhere Over Knowhere being faced with closure (after a quadruple rent increase) caused shock and anger amongst readers.
Hundreds of you commented or shared the link – with the overriding feeling being that the neighbourhood is really losing something special. “People who love Kentish Town are being forced out due to extortionate rents and the loss of independent venues is further diminishing the spirit of the local area,” said Aoife Shuilleabhain. “Another letting/estate agent or trendy chain is not needed.”
“They apparently had a pretty weak lease and have been fighting this guy since day one,” said another commenter, Matt O’ Neill. “If they weren’t fighting curtain twitchers from half a kilometre away they were battling with this bozo.”
And Laura Murray added: “Absolutely disgraceful. Camden Council needs to do something to bring these greedy immoral landlords in to line.”
There was at least hope that the landlord, who had previously owned the Mamma Mia cafe on the ground floor, would allow owners Helen and Ash, to continue to run the bar downstairs, which they indisputably “built from scratch,” says Helen.
But last night we learned that this is not the case. It seems he, in fact, plans to take over the running of the bar himself. A sign has been pasted on the door saying “bar opening…bar staff required” with a number and email address to contact.
“I can’t quite believe it’s happening like this,” says Helen. “I just want our things back. We built that bar, and own everything inside including the electricity supply and plumbing.
“If someone wants to open the doors and benefit from that then they should pay us for it. We’ve worked so hard and invested thousands in that building, not to mention rent last year. How are we supposed to live and pursue it legally when our livelihood has gone? We may well be forced out of our home town.”
And for now, that’s as much as we know. In case you wondered, we’ve contacted the landlord, but are still awaiting for him to get back with answers to clarify what’s going on. We’ll keep you posted.