A campaign has been launched to save late-night London bar, the Roadhouse – a long-running destination for flair bartending and live music.
Brian Stein, who has run the bar in Covent Garden’s Piazza since 1992, fears that the landlord, property company Capital & Counties (Capco), is trying to force the business out.
After failing to reach agreement on an extension of its lease, Capco has submitted a planning application to lower the floor of the basement site which, Brian believes, will force the Roadhouse to close.
He has now launched a petition via Change.org to gain support for in asking Westminster City Council to step in to help save the venue.
The petition states: “In recent years more and more of the amazing independent bars, clubs, restaurants, shops and businesses that we believe make London the amazing and colourful place it is today have been forced out by huge corporate property development companies who are changing the culture and DNA of London.
“We are fed up of hearing about London’s bars and clubs being forced out by developers and councils who ignore what the people who live, work and socialise in central London actually want.
“Join us in asking Westminster City Council to support our campaign and save another of London’s late night and live music venues from closing.”
By 10.30am today (March 1), the campaign, with the hashtag of #SaveRoadhouse, was rapidly approaching 5,000 signatures.
Backers of the campaign include the London mayor’s night czar, Amy Lamé, who said: “The Roadhouse is a Covent Garden institution and I’ve seen first-hand how much the venue is valued by its customers. I would urge the landlord and developer to honour the Roadhouse’s valuable contribution to London’s life at night so that it can thrive in the West End for years to come.”
The Roadhouse has a reputation as one of the world’s best place for flair bartending and hosts World Flair Association (WFA) competition finals. Bartender Tom Dyer, a co-ordinator for the WFA, said: “Roadhouse is so much more than a live music venue. It is the mecca of the flair bartending world.
“Tens of thousands of bartenders and their peers worldwide know and love Roadhouse for what it has done to the flair bartending world. It creates careers and has built communities over the last 25 years.
“It brings so much to our bartending community and brings even more joy to the thousands of people that visit every year. It is a place like no other. Don’t let such an iconic place of London’s nightlife heritage close down.”
According to London’s Evening Standard, Capco insisted it merely wanted to carry out vital improvements, such as providing better disabled access, and that it remained open to further negotiations.
“The lease relating to the Roadhouse nightclub has expired and we plan to redevelop the unit, significantly improving the space, including providing disabled access,” a spokeswoman said.
“We have been and remain in regular dialogue with the Roadhouse. We are currently going through the appropriate processes necessary to undertake redevelopment works.”