Upper Street Walkabout owner has designs on a revamp

�A bar designer has returned to Upper Street with plans to breathe new life into a derelict pub.

Paul Daly owns the former Walkabout in Islington Green, Islington, and wants to revamp the once prominent venue.

The pub closed in 2009 and has since had alleged problems with squatters and illegal raves.

Mr Daly, once a barman at the Dome in Upper Street – now hamburger grill Byrons – during the 1980s, has designed more than 100 commercial properties and bars at his studio in Hoxton Square.

Liberal Democrat councillors last week described the Walkabout as an eyesore and called for action.

Mr Daly said: “Sometimes it might not seem like anything is happening to the public, but it is in the background.

“We had a duty of care to the building which was being destroyed by water because the guttering had gone.

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“We will bring the place back into action which must a good thing.”

The Irish-born artist has submitted a planning application to turn the building into a bar called Rattlesnake, which will serve food, feature live music and have a rooftop terrace.

He hopes to open before St Patrick’s Day on March 17.

Mr Daly said: “Upper Street is one of the biggest night-time districts around but still retains that cutting-edge flavour, with places such as Slim Jim’s and The King’s Head instead of chain pubs. It is an incredible street.”

Saturation zone

Drink-fuelled trouble in Upper Street has sparked calls for the creation of a saturation zone, like one that has already been established in Clerkenwell, which would give the council greater powers to block new bars from opening.

One resident, Jennie Rooney of the St Mary’s Path Estate between Essex Road and Upper Street, said: “We have had horrendous problems since the late licence changed.

“Drunken people are sick in the courtyard, going to the toilet and having sex.

“We want a saturation zone, so more no places are developed into clubs.

“But the Walkabout has always been a bar, so it should not be an issue if there are tight controls on the clientele.”