The Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park to close after Burger and Lobster buyout
PUBLISHED: 18:52 14 June 2016 | UPDATED: 19:22 14 June 2016
It's the same old song for London's independent music scene with another venue set to close after a buyout by an upmarket company.
The Silver Bullet in Station Place, Finsbury Park, has been taken over by the Goodman Restaurant Group – which owns the Burger and Lobster chain.
Campaigners fought to save the venue, but a crowdfunding effort raised just £13,500 of the £300,000 needed to buy back the lease from Goodman.
Staff say the corporate takeover is a sad day for London’s live music scene, which has seen 40 per cent of venues close in the last 10 years.
The 200-capacity bar has been a champion of live performances since opening six years ago, hosting acts including Rudimental and Laura Marling, and is credited with launching the career of singer John Newman.
Co-manager Anna Naylor said the Bullet, which is open seven nights a week until 4am, was “more than just a venue”.
“It’s a cultural and community hub; an integral part of London’s live music scene,” she said. “The Silver Bullet is a place where small bands can expect packed out dance-floors, and where big-name acts enjoy the rare magic of an intimate gig.”
A petition to save the bar has received almost 3,500 signatures and on Sunday night Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn popped in to show his support.
Mark Davyd from the Music Venue Trust, which works to save small grassroots venues, said: ”Without independent venues, new acts have no platform to perfect their craft, to build up fan bases, and to eventually fill the same shoes of some of the biggest names around today.”
But fears of gentrification have been rubbished by Goodman operations director Dave Strauss, who lives locally.
He told the Gazette: “I’ve been drinking in Finsbury Park since 1983. I have no desire to open a restaurant there.
“It will be a late-night bar for people who finish work late. I finish work at 11 or 12 at night and I just want a beer, I don’t want to drink craft beer or a latte.
“It was a very public sale which was never confidential and the lease says that it can only be a bar.”
Dave added the bar, which he hopes will open in a couple of months, would still provide live music, just not every night.