Barfly to relaunch as Camden Assembly

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The latest NW1 opening this autumn is set to be a real biggie for music fans


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Barfly will be reborn as the Camden Assembly. Photo: SE
The famous venue will be reborn next month as the Camden Assembly. Photo: SE
It’s proving a busy summer along the dusty, traffic-clogged thoroughfare of Chalk Farm Road.

Last week, Kerb launched their expansive new streetfood market over by the lock, the Atrium brasserie has opened in the Stables Market, West London street art gallery Accepted Rebellion set up a new outlet nearby, and hip Dalston pizza joint Voodoo Ray’s follows this month.

And now the once-legendary Barfly is getting a whole new lease of life. You may have noticed its low-key demise earlier this year – or at least, the scaffolding that’s been engulfing it for what seems like aeons.

Well, the good news is that it’s been bought by the Columbo Group, the savvy team behind the still-very-popular Blues Kitchen, fresh from their revamp of the nearby Jazz Cafe on Parkway this summer.

Fear not however, the renamed 400-capacity corner plot remains firmly a music venue, now set, they say, “to become a new home for emerging music in the city.”

And you can’t really argue with that, seeing as they are also the people behind Brixton’s Phonox, the Old Queen’s Head on Essex Road, The Nest in Dalston and the mega-successful XOYO in Shoreditch.

A crowd at XOYO. Photo: PR
A crowd at XOYO. Photo: PR
As well as a new sound system there’s the “forward-thinking bookings policy”, more than borne out by initial post-opening performances from grime artist AJ Tracey, DJ duo The 2 Bears and soul singer Andrew Ashong.

“When I started as a promoter 10 years ago, my first event at the Camden Barfly felt like a huge moment for my career,” says the Assembly’s head of music Andy Peyton.

“We want this venue not to be a monument to the glory days of indie, or the glory days of Camden, or the glory days of The Barfly. Instead we hope it will reflect the eclectic tastes young people have today, something Camden and London can be proud of.”

As it looked at lunchtime today. Photo: SE
As it looked at lunchtime today. Photo: SE
There’ll also be weekend club nights, Monday student bashes and a Tuesday pub quiz. Decor will remain traditional and unfussy with worn leather sofas and salvaged furnishings providing the backdrop to the boozy shenanigans.

Hungry? London burger favourites (and residents for a while at the Grafton pub) Lucky Chip are to take up residence in the kitchen – giving nearby Honest Burgers a run for their money.

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The Camden Assembly opens on 15th September, with the 2 Bears on Friday 16th. And Lucky Chip launch on 20th Sept. More details here

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