The home of The Roof Gardens club, bar and restaurant in London is set for a new owner after Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition announced it was leaving after 37 years.
The operator has decided not to renew its lease on the Kensington rooftop venue, blaming “unpredictable market conditions and a challenge to remain profitable”.
Branson has been a tenant since 1981, reportedly buying the lease after being refused entry to the previous club occupying the space. He relaunched The Roof Gardens, establishing it as a leading nightlife destination and events venue, along with restaurant Babylon which opened in 2001.
Jon Brown, managing director of Virgin Limited Edition, said: “For over 35 years, The Roof Gardens has showcased top DJs and live musical talent as well as hosting numerous events, parties, award ceremonies, weddings and dinners in our award-winning restaurant Babylon.
“The time has now come for us to hang up our dancing shoes, and take off our gardening gloves, but one thing’s for sure and that is The Roof Gardens will continue to be one of London’s most spectacular and extraordinary landmarks and we look forward to seeing what’s next for this beautiful venue.”
The gardens on the sixth floor were first established in the 1930s, officially opening in 1938, after the landmark building in Kensington High Street was completed for the Derry & Toms department store in 1931. Redevelopment in 1978 saw the creation of Regine’s restaurant and nightclub under legendary nightclub manager Régine Zylberberg which operated until Branson revamped the venue.
Home to birdlife including flamingos, the rooftop features the Spanish Garden, the Tudor Garden and the English Woodland Garden, based on the original designs by landscape architect Ralph Hancock. The gardens were given Grade II* listed status by English Heritage in 1986. The building itself was sold in 2014 to property giant Sirosa, owned by the German Conle family.