Cue the melancholy piano — here's our annual roll call of the places we lost in London during 2022.
Museum of London, Barbican
Anyone who knew the joys of strolling through two millennia of history on a drizzly Sunday afternoon will shed a tear for the London Wall site of the Museum of London, which we waved a fond farewell to at the start of December. The institution, of course, will be back in nearby Smithfield Market come 2026 — and by all accounts more wondrous than ever. But certain displays, such as the preposterously-dummied pleasure garden recreation, have surely bitten the dust.
L. Manze, Walthamstow
Not so long before the pandemic, this storied east London joint was enjoying a heady renaissance, serving eels and liquor by day, before glamming up into an (excellent) cocktail bar by night. But two years is a long time in pie and mash; in March 2022, owner Tim Nicholls lamented in a phone call to London Eater, the 'fickle and fashion-minded oh yah lot' who have eschewed the simplicities of minced beef in pastry, for sushi and dim sum. Consider this your call to arms to frequent the remainder of the city's pie and mash emporiums.
Simpson's Tavern, Bank
Out of the blue on the first day of November, London foodies reeled at the news that Georgian chophouse Simpson's Tavern had been shut down by its landlord with immediate effect. The frankly infuriating idea of some hothead in Bermuda calling time on Simpson's left a bitter taste in the mouths of Londoners, but all is not lost. Various measures — including a crowdfunder and a (since successful) campaign to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value — have been taken to bring back Simpson's posthaste. We hope to have our gob full of its Barnsley chop again in 2023.
Canopy Brewing, Herne Hill
At the risk of revealing something about me, few wanders across Brockwell Park are complete without a visit either to Bullfinch or Canopy, the practically neighbouring breweries in Herne Hill. The latter, alas, has announced it'll be moving out of its railway arch premises at the end of 2022, or rather pushed out by the two-faced beast that is gentrification, as well as insurmountable running costs. Allow us here and now to salute you Canopy: many a pint of Snapper enjoyed by the vintage cars in your brewery yard.
Update: we've also heard over Christmas of two other beer-based losses: the Beer Shop in Nunhead and Solvay Society in Leytonstone. 2023 is going to be another tough year for breweries and pubs, so show your support wherever you can.
The Junction, Loughborough Junction
Not a million miles from Canopy, another institution gave up the ghost; the marvellously unpretentious jazz cafe The Junction called time, after its landlords refused to renew the lease. This was a real neighbourhood gem — a hybrid of Ronnie Scott's and a local boozer, where you could happily take anyone from a date to your parents. Hope you're pleased with yourselves, landlords.
Trader Vic's, Park Lane
There was grim new for anyone who anyone who likes to suck down a good Mai Tai; Trader Vic's — purveyors of knockout rum concoctions served in drinkware that gurns back at you, since 1963 — was informed it has to cease shaking tiki cocktails come 31 December 2022. The bar opened at the same time as the Hilton hotel on Park Lane, and is the longest-serving bar in the Trader Vic's stable. Let's all go down there and get smashed on Zombies while we can.
i Camisa & Son, Soho
Update: We've just seen on Twitter that i Camisa & Son might be saved for now — go grab some deli meats and pasta from here next time you're in Soho!
Serving up Italian meats, cheeses and sundries in Soho for 93 years, deli i Camisa & Son recently announced it must throw in the towel because it's losing money. When you think of the comical amount of Prets in the area, you realise just how ludicrous that is. Once we say arrivederci to those £5 lunchtime mortadella sandwiches, they won't be coming back. (In fact just before writing this, we called in for one and ate it pensively in the nearby ground of St Anne's). Incredibly sad, and celeb fans such as chef Fergus Henderson will concur.
Rex Whistler restaurant, Tate
Deciding that high end dining with a side of racism was not in the best taste, the Tate nipped its Rex Whistler restaurant in the bud back in April. It was named for the artist who had crafted a bucolic mural — The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meat — for the walls of the upmarket dining rooms in the mid-1920s, the problem being that the painting depicted such scenes as an enslaved Black child with a chain around his neck. The mural itself has been kept, but the dining experience is no more.
Medicine Man exhibition, Wellcome Collection
Another problematic London fixture shut up shop this year; the Wellcome Collection's permanent Medicine Man exhibition was voluntarily retired by the venue, which admitted that the display, featuring the collections of Henry Wellcome's various medical accoutrements perpetuated "a version of medical history that is based on racist, sexist and ableist theories and language". The Wellcome Collection has promised to amplify the voices of those previously erased or marginalised — and we wonder if the 'Wellcome' name itself may be withdrawn in the future.
A glimmer of hope in this unsightly mountain of closures; the much-loved Scootercafe suddenly announced at the end of August that it had come to the end of the road, unable to keep on top of stringent fire regulations. We mourned its excellent coffees and negronis among various Vespa gimcrack. However, fast forward to December, and there was a Christmas miracle, as the Lower Marsh venue revealed it was going to reopen after all. Haaaaallelujah!
The Queen's standard above Buckingham Palace
We lost the Queen this year of course — and although she doesn't constitute a 'place', she was synonymous with Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Standard flew whenever she was home. We have, then, respectfully, withdrawn this t shirt from our shop: