London nightlife is coming apart at the seams, with the latest addition to a long list of closures: Fabric.
In a deliberation by Islington Council that lasted into the early hours this morning, it was decided that searches being operated by the 2,500-capacity venues’ security staff had been ‘inadequate and in breach of the licence,’ following the drug-related deaths of two teenagers earlier this year.
The result comes as a shock to many, with an online petition opposing the closure recently gaining 150,000 signatures, and mayor of London Sadiq Khan and MP for Islington Emily Thornberry both pro-Fabric.
Speaking to Imbibe, Edmund Weil, owner of local bar Oriole, as well as Nightjar, said: ‘The closing of Fabric is going to tear a huge hole in the character of the Farringdon area. It’s a shocking indictment of the Met’s and Islington Council’s approach to licensing and policing that they saw this as the best solution to an issue that is not going to go away. It’s certainly going to affect some of the local bars and food outlets that did very good trade from clubbers coming and going from the venue.’
‘Nightlife in an area is very much the sum of its parts and Fabric was a bastion which was part of the initial regeneration of the bars in the area. It’s hard to say what effect the closure will have on the of Farringdon bar scene but it will not be positive.’
‘London’s nightlife is not dying, it’s being killed off,’ added Dan Coshan, general manager of Northhamptonshire’s the Tap & Kitchen, and an involved member of the campaign to save Fabric. He explained that he believes police and council members ‘conspired against the club’.
Following the recent news of the Museum of London’s £200m Smithfield Market investment, a stones-throw from Fabric, many have speculated online that the location is earmarked for museum space.
Another prompt for online speculation into reasons behind the decision was a recent article published in the Islington Gazette, days before the closure. The article revealed that Islington Council is sitting on £37m of unspent donations from housing developers – possibly echoing the closure of Manchester’s Hacienda club, now 130 flats.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned that local authorities need to work more closely with the sector, or risk further venue closures, damage to the UK economy and an erosion of the country’s world-renowned music scene.
‘We believe that nightclubs such as Fabric are not just crucial economic drivers, but an integral part of the country’s social zeitgeist,’ said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls. ‘Both local and national authorities need to work closely with the sector, not fight against it, or we risk losing more venues and doing irreparable damage to the UK’s music culture.’
Our hearts go out to the jobs, dance-filled nights and nearby trade that have been damaged by this detrimental news to London’s nightlife.