Knowhere Special is reopening November 16th

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We love a happy ending. And what could be more cockle-warming than the return of Kentish Town’s cosiest cocktail bar?


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Knowhere Special: very cosy indeed. Photo: SE
Knowhere Special: the very definition of the word ‘hygge’. Photo: SE
Yes, the rumours are true: Kentish Town’s pioneering cocktail bar is back in biz.

For the uninitiated, it was the candlelit subterranean living room-style bar acclaimed for its casual vibes and avant-garde libations with witty names like the Park Bench and Grow Your Own Martini.

“We’re yet to make a formal announcement, but you know what K-Town is like at keeping secrets,” chuckles co-owner Helen Gay. “We should be open again in a week or two.”

It’s a heartwarming turn of events after a pretty tortuous year for Helen and her partner Ash. Twelve months ago they were unceremoniously kicked out by a landlord who thought he could do better himself, turning the venue into what he then called the Cave Bar .

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“Contrary to believing he could just profit from our work, open the doors and be as busy as we were, he found it difficult to stay afloat,” she says. The bar closed just four months after, with the building subsequently sold by the bank at auction in March.

So, with new owners now in place, what condition was it in when they finally got the keys back? “Most of our things were in there still, but some are missing, some mouldy and the Cave painted everything brown for some reason. So we’re really just freshening the place up and fixing stuff.”

Helen and Ash standing in the corridor leading down to Knowhere Special. Photo: SE
Helen and Ash standing in the corridor leading down to Knowhere Special in March 2014. Photo: SE
On a more positive note, what can readers expect from Knowhere Special 2.0? “The same, but always different I guess,” Helen says. “Great drinks, tapas-style small plates, humble, welcoming environment. And we must mention how appreciative we’ve been of all the support we have had over what was arguably the hardest year for us. Living locally we were constantly reminded of everything but the support was extremely appreciated and helped us get through it all. Onwards and upwards.”

Some more news? The ground floor outlet – formerly the couple’s all-day bakery and cafe Somewhere Over Knowhere – is to become the third branch of Saint Espresso, an indie coffee shop with outlets in Angel and Baker Street.

“We’ve got the bar back and are back to doing what we really love doing, so we’re happy the professionals are in upstairs,” she says. “Without their commitment to our plight – they introduced us to the new owners – we wouldn’t be back at all. But I think they’ll take a bit longer to open up due to the amount of work they’re doing.”

So, as we said, everyone loves a happy ending. And the timing couldn’t be better, now the hour’s gone back, with a winter of long evenings ahead.

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Knowhere Special reopens on Wednesday 16th November at 296 Kentish Town Road, NW5. For more updates follow them on Twitter @knowherespecial.

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