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End of service for the Gay Hussar

Restaurant that has served ‘gener­als, prime ministers and the gentlemen of the inland revenue service’ is set to close

31 May, 2018 — By John Gulliver

John Wrobel, manager of the Gay Hussar in Soho, which is set to close on June 21

JOHN Wrobel, legendary manager of the Gay Hussar in Soho for 25 years, was rushed off his feet when I caught up with him this week.

News of the Greek Street restaurant’s imminent closure led to a surge in bookings and he joked that yesterday he had been serving “gener­als, prime ministers and the gentlemen of the inland revenue service” on packed tables across three floors.

The Gay Hussar

“If only we could announce closure every week we would not be closing,” he said. “Suddenly there is nothing. I have just been working, there’s been no time to think about what I will do – care in the community?

“There is nothing left to save of this business. June 21 is the last trading day, the whole place is being boarded up. Who­ever comes will decide what to do with it.”

A cartoon of Illtyd Harrington, by Martin Rowson – one of the portraits of the Labour left that adorn its walls

The restaurant is well-known to have been a historic haunt of the Labour left with walls adorned by the caricatures of illustrator Martin Rowson. Portraits include those of the New Journal’s late books editor Illtyd Harrington and Labour leader Michael Foot.

John said there had been viewings by interested parties, not least the so-called Goulash Collective of Rowson, the deputy editor of Private Eye Francis Wheen and others who are looking to buy and breathe new life into the restaurant.

Landowner Corus Hotels is said to have put the rent up 30 per cent.


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