Music bar needs £95,000 to prevent closure

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Closure on the cards: the Social music bar in London is bidding to raise £95,000
Closure on the cards: the Social music bar in London is bidding to raise £95,000

Related tags: London

More than £40,000 has been raised via a crowdfunding page in a bid to stop the closure of a Fitzrovia music bar.

The Social, central London, said it needed to raise £95,000 to buy a controlling share from the leaseholder or it would be forced to close its doors.

The bar was opened by Heavenly Records in 1999 and has hosted musicians including Adele, Lily Allen and Florence & the Machine.

But an offer to the building’s leaseholder from a cocktail and wine bar chain means it could close down, according to a statement from the venue.

“Two decades old, the Social remains one of the very best spaces in the UK to discover new music, fall in love with old music or just lose yourself in,” it read.

Many people have shared their memories of the site on social media.

With just two weeks to raise the money, operators said they were overwhelmed with “the outpouring of love” the crowdfunder had received so far.

"If the Social is saved, we would quickly look to set up further venues and take the kind of music and arts culture clash we've promoted in Little Portland Street to the rest of London and beyond," the venue added.

Robin Turner, co-founder of the venue, compared the Social to the Coach and Horses in Soho​ and described it as “a proper community local, even if the locals were eccentric writers, drunken actors and market traders”.

He added: “We might not have Jeffrey Bernard but we have got our fair share of creative lushes and barroom philosophers who have made the place utterly unique in the 19 years it has been open.”

“We're seeing genuine love from people who are furious about the fact that the Social might not be there in the very near future.”

Work to be done

The Social hopes to host 20th birthday celebrations for the bar, including “the biggest small festival in the world” with intimate shows by a selection of artists who have previously played there.

A City Hall spokesman on behalf of the Mayor of London told the NME music magazine that venues like the Social were a “vital part of London’s culture and nightlife”.

“After a decade of decline, the number of grassroots music venues has remained stable but more work needs to be done to ensure every Londoner can enjoy a thriving nightlife,” they said.

Co-founder of The Breakfast Group, the site’s current leaseholder, Eric Yu told The Evening Standard​ newspaper that rising costs were causing difficulty.

Remarkable journey

He said: “There is nobody prouder than myself of my association with this amazing bar in Little Portland Street.

“However, with the increase in property and other running costs, we find ourselves in the very difficult situation where there are another 10 years to run on the lease with a bar that after 20 years needs refreshing and new impetus.

“We are currently exploring several options some of which involve calling an end to what has been a most remarkable journey.”

It comes as music venues and other late-night sites across the capital are struggling with rising levies​ and property costs.

Related topics: Entertainment

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