'It's heartbreaking': Moors Bar bows out of Crouch End

Moors Bar owner Andy James said it was "heart-wrenching" to bid farewell

Moors Bar owner Andy James said it was "heart-wrenching" to bid farewell - Credit: Andy James

“It was amazing to be a part of something that was so special. You're looking around and you're seeing everybody happy... the place just had that energy.” 

From plays to live music to poetry, Moors Bar tried to offer something for everyone. Its diverse spirit was illustrated by its eclectic cast of partygoers throwing shapes into the early hours.  

“We had 21-year-olds to 80-year-olds hitting the dancefloor, which was great,” owner Andy James, 55, told the Ham&High.  

Despite its popularity, the Crouch End staple – victor of six Time Out awards – was powerless when faced with the financial impact of the pandemic.  

In October, facing spiralling costs, a 10pm curfew and enduring uncertainty to when it could reopen as its true, former self – a late-night venue – Moors Bar cleared decks and closed for good. 

Revellers during happier times

Revellers during happier times - Credit: Andy James

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Bidding farewell to cherished moments and memories was “heartbreaking,” Andy said.  

“I was trying to think of every possible solution to keep it open. I had many, many sleepless nights just thinking ‘how can I possibly make this work?’  

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“But Covid meant it wasn’t in my hands. No matter what you do, you can’t control it. That was the hardest thing.  

“It was like losing a baby for me.”

Andy recalled “dark, sad days” when he knew his time in Park Road was up – but he took strength and was touched by the outpour of support from the local community.

The actor and writer, who lives in Crouch End, said he would be forever indebted to his staff, who he regards as “family” and two of whom have Moors Bar tattoos.

The late-night venue hosted everything from Moulin Rouge to funk and folk

The late-night venue hosted everything from Moulin Rouge to funk and folk - Credit: Moors Bar

Of all the "amazing nights” from his 12 years in tenure, Andy picked out two fashion show fundraisers – one for an orphanage in Grenada and one for BBC Children in Need – as standout memories, along with live gigs from the Chicago-based Kilborn Alley Blues Band. 

“It was a nice place for nice people, that was our motto,” Andy said.  

“Any time we had anybody come in there who was aggressive, we said ‘look, we don't do that in here, if that's the way you want to be then you're not welcome,’ and people soon understood that.  

“You'd bump into each other and instead of arguing, you'd start a conversation. 

“I’ll miss it tremendously.” 

Raising a glass to Moors Bar

Raising a glass to Moors Bar - Credit: Andy James

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