Urinals to a grand piano: Kentish Town toilet bar granted licence
14:20 09 May 2014
Plans to convert former public toilets into an underground bar took a step further yesterday as councillors granted its first licence.
The proposed venue – to be called “Ladies and Gentlemen” – would take over the disused toilets located at the junction of Fortess Road and Highgate Road in Kentish Town.
Run by William Borrell, the head of artisan vodka company Vestel Vodka, the management hope to replace the stench of old urinals with a “warm and cosy” atmosphere.
The former public toilets were closed by the council about 20 years ago in a bid to cut costs.
Planning drawings show the existing nine toilets and walls of urinals making way for seating and tables accommodating 45 revellers.
There will also be a backlit drinks bar and space for a grand piano.
But the plan faced a number of complaints from residents.
These included concerns about “yet another” bar opening in the area, the suitability of the location given the “very busy surrounding roads” and the late hours applied for.
In contrast, those behind the proposed bar claimed to have amassed some 700 signatures in support and insist the venue would “complement existing restaurants and bars in the area” and “enhance choice available to both locals and visitors”.
While much of the inside will be gutted, owners hope to retain some original tiling, signage and flooring to “preserve the interesting and unique character of the existing space”.
The planning application is still pending with the consultation deadline ending the same evening councillors agreed to its licence.
Similar closures by other local authorities in London have seen disused toilets converted into cafes, nightclubs and even private homes.