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In memoriam: the Buffalo Bar in Highbury

Posted at 4:15 pm, November 16, 2014 in Music & Nightlife
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Photo: Buffalo Bar Facebook

With Buffalo Bar due to close in December, Emily Barkerpicture editor of NME Online, explains why she’ll miss the north London indie hangout.

‘Buffalo Bar was so much more to me than just a great venue. I can chart the timeline of my London life in memories (both fond and maybe a little embarrassing) of the unassuming bar next to Highbury and Islington station.

The red basement was steeped in history. The Libertines, Joy Formidable and The Subways all played there and it garnered a reputation for hosting misfit artists that just didn’t seem to ‘fit’ anywhere else. Its tiny stage put the crowd practically on top of the bands and I often saw both merge together by the end of a set (generally with me trapped somewhere between the bassist and a microphone stand).

I spent many messy evenings dancing and sweating into the early hours of the morning at indie night ‘GoGo Disco’. Something about Buffalo Bar’s atmosphere always put you in a mood that I have yet to come across elsewhere – the feeling of not having to worry about being anyone but yourself. Where else would an entire venue continue to dance and cheer when the sound system died halfway through the night?

The venue was a place of solace for youngsters in Dr Martens looking to continue their night on a sticky dance floor  – but I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t all good. My memories of the venue include tears, arguments and a very prominent flashback of a double vodka and Red Bull being poured over my head.

I also learned an important life lesson or two there. I never thought a toilet could get any worse than a Glastonbury long drop. I was wrong.

From my first foray into activism to my first time shooting live music and my first kiss in London – it all happened in the dark belly of this venue and I will forever be grateful. RIP.’

Update: there’s now a petition to save Buffalo Bar. You can sign it here

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