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Noughties music spot Buffalo Bar reopens as 1920s jazz bar after makeover of Highbury Corner’s Famous Cock pub

PUBLISHED: 12:15 21 February 2018

Manager Carl Hufton outside the new bar. Picture: Joel Chant

Manager Carl Hufton outside the new bar. Picture: Joel Chant

Joel Chant

An underground music venue that played host to a who’s who of Noughties indie bands has reopened as a 1920s-themed jazz bar.

Ray Parlour makes a cocktail in the new basement bar, Jam and Rye. Picture: Joel Chant Ray Parlour makes a cocktail in the new basement bar, Jam and Rye. Picture: Joel Chant

Stonegate, the company that owns the Famous Cock Tavern in Highbury Corner and evicted The Buffalo Bar from its basement in 2014, has carried out a £600,000 renovation to the pub.

As part of the project, the old grassroots venue, which operated for 14 years, has been renovated and opened under the name Jam and Rye.

The Libertines, Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, The Zutons, Maximo Park, The Futurehads and The Long Blondes all played the venue in its previous incarnation, which held weekly club nights.

A 5,600-strong petition to save it was signed by a host of bands who played there, such as The National, and MP Emily Thornberry also backed the campaign.

MP Emily Thornberry and campaigners at the Buffalo Bar in 2014. MP Emily Thornberry and campaigners at the Buffalo Bar in 2014.

Stonegate saved the Cock, the Nags head in Islington High Street and the Vineyard in Upper Street from closure when it bought the pubs in 2013.

The chain also owns Yates, Walkabout and the Slug and Lettuce pubs.

The unpopular decision to shut the Buffalo has been blamed on its parent company.

Carl Hufton, manager of the Cock, said: “The previously closed underground bar of years ago has come into our fold only this year and whilst we’ve protected its music legacy, it’s a contemporary bar that meets the needs of a vibrant Islington.

“That’s only half of the story, though. Islington is socially alive all times of the day and we’ve invested as much in an upbeat Famous Cock, alive with neons, industrialised finishes, extended love of sport, craft beers, gin botanicals and of course urban style food.”

On Jam and Rye, Stonegate said: “A namesake for its opulent 1920s-themed jazz bar and refined spirits, it is a catch for the one of London’s trendiest, most eclectic neighbourhoods.

“A posh-meets-creative vibe, the sounds of local jazz musicians paired with table-served exquisite cocktails, is a likely destination for the area’s celebs to escape from 5pm every day, and all day on what’s down to be some memorable Sundays.”

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