If You Could Bring Back One London Venue From The Dead, What Would It Be?

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 7 months ago
If You Could Bring Back One London Venue From The Dead, What Would It Be?

The transient nature of London means that one second, you're drinking in your Favourite Bar Of All Time, and the next moment it's vanished into thin air. If you could choose one London venue to bring back from the dead, what would it be? We recently asked you on social, and thousands responded. Here's what some of you said.

The exterior of a gloriously 1950s looking greasy spoon
The New Piccadilly Cafe was a popular choice of places to bring back from the dead... what would be your choice? Image: Gideon via creative commons

London restaurants you'd like to bring back from the dead

  • "Jackets in Clapham" (JayKnox) - not a posh members club, but a no-nonsense caff dealing in hearty filled jacket potatoes.
  • "Sweet and Spicy served fantastic food for decades in Brick Lane. Anyone could eat something from there including school kids with their little pocket money!" (Brohmon) - ah man, used to ADORE this place (and spend most of our own pocket money here)
  • "Nordic Bakery on Golden Square. Best cinnamon buns, EVER" (Stuart Hobley)
  • "The New Piccadilly Cafe, theatre posters, formica tables and the best cuppa in Soho" (Celia Amodeo) - another one! - YES, Celia. Quite a few votes for this legendary greasy spoon, and if that's your bag, may we also draw your attention to this wonderful caff Instagram account.
People sit outside the Stockpot in the Su eating and drinking
Image: Garry Knight via creative commons
  • "Studio 6 in Gabriel’s Wharf, Southbank- was my favourite restaurant in London. Family run, non-pretentious, did the best corn fed chicken. Now it’s some weird 'beach bar' 😭" (Fran Scott)
  • "The Stockpot. I miss their syrup sponge & custard 😋" (Richard Kiddle) - heck yes Richard — school dinner-like meat n' two veg, with stodgy pudding for dessert, at ludicrously cheap prices. There were plenty more of you calling for Stockpot's return, too.
  • "Nikita - Russian Restaurant Ifield Road, Fulham" (MissB)
  • "Manzes pie and mash shop, Walthamstow" (Tracy Ryan) - we only very recently lost that one, but it's already part of London legend
  • "Gaby's Deli!" (Mike Durham) - another fine eatery that we only lost in recent times. Loved all the theatre luvvies frequenting this place.
  • "A&C Continental. Best deli in Brixton." (Anabella Cardoso)
  • "I'd bring back wimpy bars, cafes I mean" (Sheila 'Dalton' Edwards) - plenty of Wimpys left Sheila! We even did a piece on them a while back
  • "The Passage Café, Jerusalem Passage. Salt and pepper ice cream. Soufflés of things I'd never imagined there being soufflés of." (Jim Holmes)
black and white pictures of young boys and old ladies being served tea
Wouldn't say no to the return of Lyons Corner Houses. Image: public domain
  • "Food for Thought in Covent Garden. Their desserts were wonderful!" (Diane Burstein Lynch) - a few of you enjoyed eating here.
  • "Soho Brasserie Old Compton Street my first chef job in London 1984" (Dr Jenni Ward)
  • "Marine Ices (pizza restaurant) in Chalk Farm" (Eleanor Bayley-Woodburn)
  • "Sensuru restaurant in Woolwich road 🥰 Wonderful Japanese restaurant run by a lovely family!" (Tais Carloto)
  • "Mavhir Sweet Mart in East Finchley. It had the best samosas and coconut hot sauce EVER!!" (James Toler)
  • "Chicago Pizza Pie Factory (I think?) so my stepdad could go there again, and buy himself a new (albeit several sizes larger) t-shirt; we live in Devon but he still pines for their pizzas!" (Helz Belz) - guess Japes is the place for your deep dish needs now
  • "Centrale", the cheap and cheerful Italian in Soho with the red pvc banquettes and the two amazing ladies who would take your orders. "And vot vill you trink?" They had the best pasta dishes, including an incredible alfredo sauce unlike any others I've had. Much missed." (IH) - you weren't the only one to namecheck Centrale, IH — lots of love for this one.
  • "Tibits - Heddon Street!! So so sooooo sad it closed!! 😭"  (Sarah Ginger Dekeersgieter)
  • "A Lyons Corner House in the West End would be nice 😊" (Elaine Stone) - very much agreed, Elaine
  • "Simpsons Tavern!" - (Napoléon Le Chi) - fingers crossed this one WILL come back from the dead.

London bars and cafes you'd like to bring back from the dead

Exterior of the pub, with people drinking outside
Goth/metal pub The Intrepid Fox is sorely missed by our readers. Image: supafly via creative commons
  • "Button's Coffeehouse, Covent Garden" (Matthew Green) - and Matthew should know, because he's brewed up some, er, heady coffee content for us before now.
  • "The Paradise Bar, New Cross." (Emma G Hutchins)
  • "Jules in Jermyn Street - very fond memories" (Joanna Lloyd-Davies)
  • "The Dragon Bar, Leonard St, Old St Roundabout" (Oxford House)
  • "Intrepid Fox & Purple Turtle" (Valerie Fox) - the Intrepid Fox got a slew of mentions by readers overall - the Purple Turtle not so much.
  • "The Endurance - Berwick street pub that got redeveloped into a posh hotel. Great Saturday afternoon spot. Always heaving." (craig)
  • "The Truscott Arms, Maida Vale." (Lucy Horobin)
  • "The French pub (York minster, on Dean st) as it used to be in the 60s, not the later tarted up version." (Dr Nina Baker) - fair that you prefer the old version, but we surely have to be thankful the French House still has punters spilling out onto the street with their cidre Breton most days.
A row of gravity ale casks
Remember the Bree Louise? Remember £3.50 pints? Image: Bernt Rostad via creative commons
  • "The Swedish Pub aka The Harcourt Arms, Harcourt St, W1!" (the suitably named Jens from Sweden)
  • "Val Taro Wine Bar, Orange Street (secret underground bar just behind the National Gallery)." (Hayley Brockie-Dunlop)
  • "The Clarendon Hammersmith, a proper boozer and a cracking music venue" (Mik Pavlovic)
  • "Brahms & Liszt Covent Garden" (Debbie Winchester) - smashing bit of cockney rhyming, that.
  • "The Wibbly Wobbly" (Sarah ML) - adored this floating pub — let's (metaphorically) dredge it up!
  • "Dover Street Wine Bar" (Angela Tewkesbury)
  • The Laughing Gravy! 😭 (Jenny Flecther)
  • "Ginglik" (Stuart Lawn)
  • "Chelsea Drugstore, Kings Road" (John Rees)
  • "The Water Poet" (Thomas Poole) - an occasional haunt for after work Londonist drinks, this one.
  • "Trader Vic's 🧉" (Sarah Hughes) - only bit the dust at the end of 2022, and already much lamented.
  • "The George Robey, Finsbury Park. Happy Days!" (Barry Brock Choudhury) - a few of you suggested this one.
  • "The Bree Louise in Euston" (Jon Garratt) - the worst thing about this is they knocked it down for an HS2 that might not even come to Euston now!

London music venues and clubs  you'd like to bring back from the dead

Marquee of the Astoria, with forthcoming attractions as 'The Enemy'
The Astoria is far and away your most-missed place in London. Image: Lens Envy via creative commons
  • "The Astoria. My first concert without adults there (Icicle works 1983) and went to countless gigs and club nights there up till it’s sad demise." (James Clark) - quite the history, the Astoria — went from pickle factory to strip club to mega venue that hosted Prince, Nirvana and Eminem. The Astoria, by the way was the most popular choice of all, with dozens of you missing it dearly.
  • "I'm going to say the LA2 as everyone else has said the Astoria. Spent some great nights there in the mid 90s at Popscene." (Michelle Lovelock)
  • "The Astoria 2." (Chris Booth)
  • "Definitely The Church, as it used to be, in King's Cross!" (Victoria Sammagård) - lordy, this place was as sacrilegious as it gets.
  • "The original Fridge, previously Clouds Brixton." (Darren Bradshaw) - Fridge got a handful of mentions from you lot.
  • "The (80s/90s) Bell in Kings Cross. had some great times there, met the most amazing people well before they went on the do great(er) things!" - we've read good things.
  • "Adam Street Club" (Paul Clarke) - can't say we were ever invited, Paul.
  • "Colony Room!" (Salena Godden) - never had the chance to go. Closest we'll ever get is watching Toast of London... or reading this article.
  • "The Spitz in Spitalfields" (Simon Fox)
  • "The Batcave club" (Belinda Glasup) - you're not the only person who mourns this place, Belinda.
  • "Studio Valbonne" (KSB) - hang on, is this the suggestion of Ghosts legend Kiell Smith-Bynoe. 🙌
  • "A club called After Hours on Kingley Street - only accessible to theatre and nightclub staff, with the best bartender ever and the most amazing soundtrack - open 3am to 7am." (David Lundholm) - another club we were never cool enough to frequent, then.
Peter O'Toole serves himself a drink behind the bar of the Colony Club
  • "Hickford's Room, London concert venue where Mozart played in 1765. Located Brewer St, where Regent Palace Hotel expanded and destroyed it in 1934." (Jeremy Barlow)
  • "The Marquee - exactly as it was!" (Peter Hastings) - that venue has some stories to tell, and plenty of you said it was the place you'd most like to bring back.
  • "The Luminaire" (Russell Evans) - quite right, Russell - remember some great gigs here.
  • "Black Cap in Camden, Shadow Lounge-Soho and The Box in Covent Garden." (Mailton Vasconcelos P. Junior) - oi, we said ONE place 😛
  • "Madame Jojo's back in the eighties." (Tim Ellis) - lots of love for this place from our readers.
  • "Borderline in Soho" (Alex Whiteman) - another popular one. Oh, and while we're at it, can we bring back Jeff Buckley, who once played there?
  • "The Foundry in Old Street" (Adam Helyer) - one of a few calls for the Foundry to come back.
  • "Cafe de Paris" (Lisa Wallington) - mais oui.
  • "Gateways Club" (Sudan Haywood) - very cool to see this in the mix - here's a great BBC doc on the famous lesbian club.
  • "The Green Man in Harrods" (Kieran Smith) - we recently ran a piece on this.
  • "I'd bring back the Cartoon. I also miss a number of other pubs in Croydon." (John Dee) - oh John, don't get us started on the demise of Croydon's club/pub scene...
  • "Blitz Club, Covent Garden" (Jill Catmull)
  • "Rainbow Theatre." (Richard Castle) - this cinema-turned-music-venue-turned-church got a shout out from scores of you.
A pub stuffed with taxidermy, so to speak
The Montague Arms: so we DIDN'T dream it. Image: Kevan via creative commons
  • "12 bar. That place was a home for 10 years. Everything a late night bar should be." (Tony Nisbit) - another much-missed venue according to our readers. Denmark Street ain't what it once was.
  • "The End" (Katie May) - a few shoutouts for this Bloomsbury techno/house/dubstep club.
  • "The Coronet in Elephant" (Julia Elaine)
  • "The Fringe on Kennington Lane. Only place I've been in where the carpet on the floor curved & ran up to the top of the bar. Could be confusing, depending on how chemically inconvenienced you were. Had to rescue a k-holing guy who was lying on the floor trying to energetically walk up to the bar. "Thhhannkk you dahllling!! I seem to have gotten my angles all wrong!"" (Benjamin Scanlon) - top reminiscing Benjamin... wonder if the other guy remembers it too...
  • "The Establishment in Greek St. Great satirical comedy, Dudley Moore on the piano and dry sandwiches on the table to comply with archaic licencing regulations" (Bill Samuel) - wow Bill, did you GO? Would've loved to have been there back in the day.
  • "The Montague Arms, 1000%" (Flora Strange) - an answer after our own heart, Flora - actually played this place a few times in the early 2000s, when it was still a Sam Smith's run by a dear old couple, and the taxidermy ran wild, so to speak.
  • "METRO club on Oxford St! a Crossrail casualty along with The Astoria, Mean Fiddler and Ghetto nightclub." (Shoggypops)
  • "Passing clouds" (Charlotte Minvielle)
  • "Shunt Lounge" (Edward Saperia)

Other London things you'd like to bring back from the dead

A blur of bumper cars and bright lights
Who remembers bumper cars at the Trocadero? Image: Johann in creative commons
  • "Houses on London Bridge. That must have been amazing to experience." (Webwych) - agree with you there. If you need us, we'll be staring forlornly at this rather incredible model.
  • "Whitechapel Bell Foundry 34 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1DY Closed on the 12th of June 2017, after nearly 450 years of bell-making and a 250 years at its Whitechapel site. 🔔" (Joseph V. Kuca) - shocking what they did to this place - we say BRING IT BACK!
  • "Either Tandy or the Turntable in Chingford. Spent so long in both." (Deputy Sam Mézec)
  • SEGAWorld, London Trocadero 😍 (REZtron) - waiting for this one tbh
  • "Also one thing I would bring back immediately is Rock Circus in the Trocadero" (Dani Dennan) - ha yes, remember posing for photos underneath the walk-through phone box from Oasis's Be Here Now tour
  • "The big HMV on Oxford Street circa 1987 or Ben Crouch's Tavern (aka the Spooky Pub) round the back" (Martin O'Gorman) - lots of fond memories of the big HMV in its heyday from you lot, and there's been some good news on that front.
  • "Tower Records on Piccadilly." (Giuliana Massimino)
Close up of the His Master's Voice marquee
Bring back HMV (when it was good) demanded some of you... and your wishes are coming true. Image: Martin Hearn via creative commons
  • "Fat Cat Records Earlham St off seven dials, home of tiny basement shop where you felt you could find authentic, interesting underground techno and house and electronica" (Ben Brown)
  • "Kensington Market. Goth paradise" (Rachel Collinson) - a highly popular choice, given the number of likes this comment received.
  • "The British Music Information Centre, 10 Stratford Place, opposite Bond St Tube" (Ian Gardiner)
  • "Biba. Kensington High Street. My BFF & I used to spend our Saturdays in there. It was like being in a club. Dark, moody & full of fabulous clothes & 'stuff'. One Xmas our parents bought us (different) Biba coats. We thought we’d died & gone to heaven. We still talk about it." (Annie Brooks)
  • "Whitleys." (Miche Marcisz) - one of countless grand department stores that've fallen by the wayside.
  • "Museum of the Moving Image at the BFI" (Rob Smith) - although we cannot recommend the (still existent) Cinema Museum enough.
  • "Frost Fairs!" (Simon Clifford) - what are you Simon, Victorian?!
  • "Ripley’s Believe It or Not!" (Londonboy32) - glad we did a piece on Ripley's before it shuffled off this mortal coil.
  • "Top Shop Oxford Circus." (Elizabeth Kelly MW)
  • "BBC Paris Studio, Lower Regent Street - now a gym, complete with swimming pool where the auditorium used to be. Radio comedies including Round the Horne, Dad's Army and The News Huddlines used to be recorded there." (Paul Burton)
A pair of flamingoes
Why did Kensington Roof Gardens have to flamin(go)? Image: meeems via creative commons.
  • "The Swiss Centre in Leicester Square" (Karen Elaine) - we'll always have the clock.
  • "The Odeon Marble Arch, as it was in the 70s with its HUGE single screen. Best cinema experience in the UK pre IMAX" (Keith Spillett)
  • "Buddy the musical" (Giles Rush) - think this was the only entry we got for a show.
  • "Compendium bookshop." (Jonathan Privett)
  • "Whitehall Palace. It was supposedly grand and I would have loved to have seen it." (Sandra Dempster) - left field answer Sandra, and we like it.
  • "The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden." (Beverley McFarlane)
  • "Kensington Roof Gardens" (Andrea Landi) - fab shout, always felt trippy walking through a lobby, getting into an elevator and emerging into a rooftop Eden with flamingoes strutting about.
  • "Upton Park and Highbury. Not a fan of either club, but the atmosphere at both grounds was always brilliant." (Lucien Rees) - we bid a fond farewell to Upton Park when it shut up shop in 2016.
  • "Chocolate Overload, a wonderful dessert by M&S, around 2008." (Kerstin Kill) - I mean, if you bought it in London, then I suppose...
  • And we'll leave you with a thought from Alexandra Westcott: "Gosh. What a thread. Like some kind of weird dream of time travel"

Apologies if we didn't include your suggestion — there were a LOT. Want to add to the conversation? Join in with the comments section at the bottom of the article.

Last Updated 10 May 2023

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