If you’ve ever been on a night out in Shoreditch, there’s at least a 50 percent chance you’ve ended up screaming out the lyrics to Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’ in the middle of a sweaty mash of people at the Macbeth on Hoxton Street. Thousands of Londoners have spent memorable (or, more likely, half-remembered) nights rampaging around the pub’s ground floor bar, the gallery and the tiny smoking area above, the awful toilets and the semi-mythical attic.
It’s not just a treasured venue for hardcore partygoers, either. The Macbeth is an integral part of London’s music scene, hosting up-and-coming acts every single week. The XX, Florence and the Machine, Roots Manuva, Gang of Four and Franz Ferdinand have all performed at the pub. It’s unique in the area, too, as a small pub venue where the bar and the stage are in the same room – an important asset for potential next-big-things desperate to court your attention. East London, it’s fair to say, wouldn’t be the same without it.
If local property developers have any say, though, the Macbeth’s days could be numbered. Plans are afoot to build flats on all three sides of the pub, and – like the new development next door to Ministry Of Sound – that would almost certainly mean noise complaints from any future residents, endangering the venue’s licence and forcing it to close. Even if you’re not concerned about the fate of one of London’s live music hotbeds, it’s a lovely old building which has been a pub for over 150 years, and (with more than 20 British pubs shutting each week) it’s worth saving for that alone.
If you believe that it isn’t worth sacrificing an important and really fun piece of London culture for the sake of a handful of flats (non-affordable ones, at that), then head over to the ‘Save The Macbeth’ petition set up by the pub’s owners. If you’re still not convinced, check out the planning application on Hackney Council’s website and marvel at how fugly the planned buildings are. The Macbeth needs you! James Manning
Follow #savethemacbeth for updates.