CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Licence bid by LGBT+ club looking to open in former cocktail bar

Shaker & Co closed down

18 June, 2021 — By Richard Osley

The closed down Shaker & Co bar

SUPPORTERS of a LGBT+ bar are lining up to back a plan to open a new club in Regent’s Park, warning that London has lost too many welcoming nightspots.

But Zodiac must first convince councillors that its operation at the old Shaker & Co cocktail bar in Hampstead Road will not lead to noise disturbance for people living nearby. It is seeking a 2.30am finish from Thursdays to Saturdays.

Residents in Everton Mews, which has some special housing for disabled residents, and surrounding streets have urged the council not to grant a late licence.

They say whenever the building has been run as a bar or club, it has led to sleepless nights and a mess on the streets.

“We have had this in the last 10 years with every licence holder on uncountable occasions,” said one objection letter filed at the Town Hall.

“Sometimes nights in a row with the nicest and best educated staff and lots of reassurances that it won’t ever happen again – but it did.”

Another said: “Having a 2am licence will only help to draw people to the area to continue drinking and partying once all ­other nearby drinking establishments have closed. This is not Soho or Camden Town.”

Zodiac was set up by owner Jade Phoenix as a club night in a bar in Archway but has enjoyed soaring popularity and is looking for a new venue.

Jade Phoenix

Two cabinet councillors in Camden, Adam Harrison and Danny Beales, have written letters of support; they will not be part of the licence decision.

“It is right that every evening hospitality venue needs to be a responsible neighbour,” said Cllr Beales. “This is completely achievable with a responsible, good intentioned and committed management team.”

He added that Hampstead Road would have “more of a high street function through HS2 redevelopment” and a mix of uses – including bars – needed to be protected.

Tessa Havers-Strong, director of forum+, said nearly all LGBT+ in Camden had closed, citing only The Apple Tree in King’s Cross as being still open.

A campaign to get the Black Cap in Camden High Street reopened is continuing.

“There is a need for LGBT spaces in Camden where like minded people can meet and socialise,” said Ms Havers-Strong. “The Zodiac will become a positive addition to the locale, not only in contributing to the diversity in the area but also economically.” A decision is due on Tuesday morning.

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