Saturday, January 5, 2013

Antic to open pub in former Deptford job centre

Pub company Antic - which runs the Royal Albert, Ravensbourne Arms, Catford Tavern and many other fine establishments across London - is planning to open a new pub in the former job centre on Deptford High Street. An application for an alcohol licence has been submitted and from the look of the company's new website it seems they intend to call a spade a spade by naming it in honour of its former use.

The fairly substantial shop unit is currently occupied by arts collective Utrophia, which has been running lunchtime music events and arts stuff along with a whole load of evening events during the last year or more, and the Extra Bones shop in the front. The temporary gallery licence that was granted in May 2011 was for a period of 18 months only, with the intention of using the vacant unit until redevelopment of the building began.

Although Utrophia has announced that it will be relocating at the end of February, so far there has been no application for a change of use of the building (which was changed last year from gallery space to retail space) which I believe will be necessary to allow Antic to open a pub here.

Personally I am hugely excited at the prospect of having a new pub on the High Street, especially in this high-profile location directly across from the station (and next to that classy retail establishment Poundland). Although as yet I haven't had formal confirmation of their plans from Antic*, I don't believe they would put such a thing on their website if they weren't ready to share this information publicly.

Deptford High Street desperately needs an injection of night-life beyond the fried chicken and betting shops, if it is to become something more than the ghost town it currently morphs into after 7pm. If/when the Job Centre opens, it may even give other investors the confidence to follow - with a couple of restaurants and perhaps another bar or two, the high street could become a safer and more attractive place after dark.

*Updated: they have now confirmed that this is the case and they are planning to open the Job Centre, although can't give a date as yet.

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