Bar operators call for license to be revoked in former venue

12 November 2015

A dispute between the operators of a Kentish Town bar and their former landlord has culminated in an online petition in which the former call for licensing and planning for the basement bar to be revoked.

The argument relates to the space that was once Knowhere Special on Kentish Town Road, which reportedly closed in early October because of a quadruple rent increase. According to Helen Gay, who set up the bar along with her husband Ash Clarke, their belongings remain inside the bar. 'All of our stuff is still inside, from personal belongings of our staff, [to] a few family heirlooms and numerous antique items we've collected for years,' Gay told Imbibe.

She explained that the landlord had locked them out last year as well, but that they'd won their right to return in court, only to now find themselves in a similar position a year later. Going back to court isn't an option, Gay explained, owing to limited funds, as well as the fact that it appears that the landlord has already leased out the site to another operator.

Neither the landlord, nor the supposed new operator, have so far responded to Imbibe's requests for comment.

Gay added: 'He [the landlord] is claiming rent arrears, and even for things that were rubbished out of court last year. We have a paper trail and can prove we don't owe him. I'm at a loss what to do really.'

In the meantime, the petition has over 500 signatures. 'If we can't trade there, no one else should,' it reads. 'Certainly not without starting from scratch and suffering the hardships as we did.'

The priority at the moment is to retrieve their belongings. 'We have new premises lined up but need our stuff back to move on,' said Gay.

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