Archway Tavern: Landlord tells councillors historic pub will be open in 'months, rather than years'
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 12 April 2018
The landlord of the historic Archway Tavern pub met with council chiefs last week and informed them of plans to reopen it "in months".
The boozer, which famously featured on The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies album sleeve in 1971, has been closed since a failed stint as rock venue The Intrepid Fox in 2014.
But it now stands out like a sore thumb thanks to the redevelopment of the gyratory. A year ago the Gazette, which has been leading the coverage on its status, spoke to the business renting out apartments above the pub and was told it would be reopening as a cocktail bar.
But that promise came and went and at the turn of this year a protest was held in the new square.
In response, Islington leader Cllr Richard Watts wrote to Dr Sardar Imtiaz, whose family owns the lease, and the meeting was arranged.
Also there were ward councillors Dave Poyser, Janet Burgess and Kaya Comer-Schwartz.
Cllr Comer-Schwartz told the Gazette: “We have been concerned for a while about why the pub hasn’t been open for some time – we get a lot of residents contacting us and it’s very much the focal point of the new square.
“We met the owner and the person who will be operating the business and they told us about some of the issues they have had – some work they wanted to do was more extensive than they realised and they had some personal issues as well.
“I think they were aware of the campaign and we told them if they are having issues then communication helps.”
Cllr Comer-Schwartz said they were given the impression the venue would have a family focus.
She continued: “The operator was saying she wants it to be a very family friendly bar that serves food and they mentioned an outside space. Regarding the toilets [former public toilets in the square which fall under the lease] it sounds like they are having to do a lot of clearance work, so the main focus is on getting the pub open.
“They said they were talking months, rather than years. We asked if six months was realistic and they said: ‘Maybe’.”
Pressure is also being put on the owners by the freeholder, Enterprise Inns.
Cllr Watts wrote to the firm asking them to intervene and received a positive response from director Greg Parkes.
He told the leader: “We agree the property has not been sufficiently maintained. We have served the tenant with a schedule of works to be carried out to bring the property back to an acceptable state of repair.
“We understand the tenant does have plans to reopen the pub and we are requesting a meeting on site to discuss this.
“I would like to assure you we are working with our tenant to re-open the pub as soon as possible.”