WHO'S WHO: GORDON STEPHENSON, nightclub manager

Gordon Stephenson is the owner of the Lately nightclub on West End Lane, West Hampstead. After 26 years at the helm he is one of the longest serving licensees in the borough. HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN WEST HAMPSTEAD? For 26 years. Before that my paren

Gordon Stephenson is the owner of the Lately nightclub on West End Lane, West Hampstead. After 26 years at the helm he is one of the longest serving licensees in the borough.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN WEST HAMPSTEAD?

For 26 years. Before that my parents ran a cafe on West End Lane, and it came up that some friends knew of this nightclub for sale on the same street - which shows that what goes around comes around.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT WEST HAMPSTEAD?


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Like everywhere, you take what you want from it. It's like a bag of Quality Street - if you like the ones with the nuts, you take those; if you don't, you take liquorice. I like the atmosphere in West Hampstead, it's slightly bohemian and laid back. It has the feel of a village but also a feeling of busyness and you can be who you want to be. If I had to twin it with somewhere it would be Andalucía, which has the same cosmopolitan feel.

what is the worst thing?

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I'm very anti-graffiti. I also dislike the fact that pavements are forever being dug up. Sometimes they dig them up to widen them, but sometimes it's unclear what they are doing. I also think it's sad when local police stations and post offices close, because they were part of the area and the community.

WHICH ARE YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANTS AND BARS?

I'm a fan of Era on Broadhurst Gardens, which is small, nice, and does a bit of everything. I also like Sarracino, a trendier Italian restaurant on the same street. I try to avoid bars because I live in one, but when I do visit one it's the No.77 Wine Bar in Mill Lane.

what books are you reading at the moment?

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. It's a good book. I've already seen the film so I thought I'd read the book too.

FOOTBALL OR CRICKET?

The Hampstead Cricket Club team from Brondesbury come into the club sometimes - I think I sponsored them some years back on their tour of Sri Lanka - so I'll say cricket to support them. For the past few years they've done quite well in the local league, and a couple of years ago they won it and came in with all their cups and trophies.

what have been the highlights of your years as a licensee?

There've been too many to name, but I think it's great that when they come into the club everyone - whether they are a pop star, a lawyer or a student - forgets what they are during the day. It's like a church - there is a common denominator. And time and time again when people return to the area after a long absence, I get the same reaction: 'You're still here!'

WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL EPITAPH BE?

He went out with a smile.

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