New bid to reopen the Archway Tavern
Landmark pub could be ‘real focus point for the community’ if it served again
21 February, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson
The pub has been closed since 2014
A FRESH attempt to reopen the Archway Tavern on a regular basis has been cautiously welcomed.
The landmark pub has been effectively closed since 2014, with only sporadic opening hours on offer to locals amid a long-running licensing saga, which included a bizarre attempt to open a nursery on the historic site.
Problems at the tavern stem from an umbrella licence shared with Nightclub Koli upstairs and another bar at the rear of the building.
But now Koli licensee Sokol Toska has submitted a variation application to the council, which could see the licence effectively split across the three venues, meaning the pub could open without the same restrictions as the other two establishments.
Welcoming the news, Junction ward councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz said the application, if successful, would put conditions on the pub that would effectively act as a separation from the other two areas.
“As ward councillors we’ve wanted the Archway Tavern to be open for ages and we very much welcome it being used as a community pub,” she said.
“We would really like to see it being used as part of the investment that we as ward councillors have put into the square.”
But, added Cllr Comer-Schwartz, she and other councillors would want to make sure there was no disruption to local residents through use of the outside areas.
“From what I’ve seen, we as ward councillors will be putting in a representation,” she added.
“We have been supportive of it opening for a long time but we just want to make sure that there are conditions around the two outside areas.
“There’s one at the top and then obviously the one that goes outside onto the square, so we want to minimise disruption to local residents.”
Jan Tucker, who represents Archway businesses as chair of the town centre group, said it could “only be a good thing” for the community to see the pub reopened on a regular basis.
“Hopefully it will open up as something,” she said.
“As a business group we say ‘yes please’, because you need the money coming in on the square. I do hope something happens because it has been such a wasted space and such a great place to have things going on.
Ms Tucker added: “It could be a real focus point for the community, and a huge boost for the night-time economy.
“The point is that it’s historic for the area. If you look at any old photos of Archway the Tavern has always been a centrepiece of the town.
“It has always been there and to see it not functioning has been really sad.”
The square in front of the pub, formerly called Archway Square, was renamed Navigator Square as part of a £13million facelift completed two years ago.
The name of the square pays homage to the thousands of Irish navigators, or “navvies” for short, who moved to England to build the canal systems in the 19th century.
The Archway Tavern is the reported birthplace of the betting shop William Hill.
Its interior, meanwhile, was used on the cover of The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies album released in 1973.