The Archway Tavern is open - really!
PUBLISHED: 18:33 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 08 November 2019
It has actually happened. Five years after it closed and following numerous delays, the Archway Tavern has reopened.
Pints were again being pulled in the famous old pub on Saturday - once the pipes had been given a good clean.
Ahead of showing us around the new-look interior, manager Sokol Toska told the Gazette he still had a few licensing issues to iron out with Islington Council, and so for now the pub would be open in the evenings from Thursdays to Sundays.
"It was good to see people in there," said Sokol, who used to manager the pub in the 1990s and runs Nightclub Kolis at the back of the building.
"It was alright, we only had about 20 people in, but it should be good. It's going to be a wine bar and I'm hoping to open a restaurant soon.
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"There are still some plans left to submit, so for now we are just open in the evenings. In a few weeks we should be open from 12 to 12."
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.
Since the £13million regeneration of Navigator Square outside the pub the community, the Gazette, Islington Council and freeholder Enterprise Inns have all called for it to be reopened.
Leaseholder Dr Imtiaz Sardar, who had left it shut, has not been heard from publicly throughout the campaign, but did fail in a bizarre attempt to turn it into a bar with a nursery attached last year.
On behalf of Junction ward councillors, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: "As ward councillors, we are happy to see The Archway Tavern reopen and we hope it becomes a local business that contributes positively to our community, as so many do in Archway.
"Given their prime location facing on to Navigator Square, one of the borough's key community spaces, there is great potential for them to do so."