London’s venues are dropping like flies. While some like the Union Chapel have had a stay of execution, others like 93 Feet East are closing for good. Oliver Keens looks at three more venues at risk.
The Past: After opening its doors with the Chocolate and Confectionery exhibition of 1937, this west London arena swapped choc for rock in the ’70s – hosting huge gigs by bands like Led Zep and the Stones.
The Problem: Having lost out in recent years to its newer rival The O2, the owners want to demolish the art deco hall (as well as some neighbouring estates) to create 7,500 homes.
The Future? Since a recent judicial review of the application failed, music fans may only have two more chances to bounce around in this ingenious, column free hall – at Bloc Party’s gig on Fri Feb 22 and Example’s the day after.
MINISTRY OF SOUND
The Past: So underground when launched in 1991 that it didn’t want to be listed in Time Out (shame!), this club now attracts 300,000 visitors every year.
The Problem: Private developers want to build a 41-storey residential block just ten metres from the entrance. Naturally, complaints about the club from these new neighbours would instantly go through the roof.
The Future? The venue assumed they were safe after Southwark council rejected the plans, but Mayor Boris Johnson has recalled the application and will announce on Feb 26 whether he’ll be giving it a green light.
BULL AND GATE
The Past: A classic venue in north London’s indie heritage, this Kentish Town pub has nurtured guitar music from Nirvana and Blur right through to Muse and The Libertines.
The Problem: In a word: gastropub. We heard the sad news last week that this gloriously scuffed-up joint is going to become a pub-restaurant, meaning goodbye bands and hello triplecooked chips.
The Future? They’re promising a week of farewell concerts, ending with a huge name scheduled for the last night on May 4. Reports that it’s going to be Obi-Wan Kenobi are unconfirmed.