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Stars celebrate as plans to re-open Primrose Hill pub are revealed

Andrew Marr: 'The Albert was that rare north London thing, a proper pub'

21 March, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Broadcaster Andrew Marr was a fan of  The Albert

A MUCH-missed Primrose Hill pub looks set to be brought back to life after new operators revealed plans to reopen it.

The Albert in Princess Road closed in 2014 amid fears that pints would never be poured there again. But after a licensing application was filed at the Town Hall, Phil Cowan, a campaigner who has called for the pub to reopen, said he has been sent a letter from a “small independent group” who said they were ready to take it over and wanted to run it as a “proper pub run as a genuine free house”.

Sam Moss, from the group, says it hopes the pub, built in the 1840s, will reopen at the beginning of June. Former customers included several famous faces from the neighbourhood who this week were welcoming signs that the bar would soon be serving again.

Andrew Marr, the former newspaper editor who hosts the BBC’s flagship Sunday morning politics show, said: “The Albert was that rare north London thing, a proper pub. It always had a great community atmosphere and was where you could meet your neighbours, and make new friends in a way that didn’t happen in more commercial drinking emporia, or lightly disguised restaurants pretending to be pubs. Excellent beer, simple food, no very loud machines or music… just good conversation and a lot of laughter.”

He added: “If these guys can reopen it, all of the Primrose Hill islanders will celebrate.”

Meanwhile, broadcaster Matthew Wright, the Talk Radio show host, said: “It’s wonderful news to hear that a successful and popular pub is to be reborn and in some style by all accounts.”

Mr Cowan has been a long-term supporter of the idea of getting the business going again.

He said: “Residents and visitors in Primrose Hill have missed The Albert and its lovely garden so much for the four years since it closed. Now is the chance to get this vital community asset back where it belongs and I would urge everyone to support the new landlords in their endeavour. “I’d like to thank our ward councillors for their interest in protecting this pub over the years and Camden Council for its adoption of more a robust policy on the preservation of pubs generally.”

Mr Moss says they want to move the toilets into the basement and replace the current conservatory with a slightly larger one. They added the “wonderful garden” was one of the attractions to the pub and the focus will be on a “selection of drinks” and bar snacks rather than food.

A licensing application has been submitted requesting opening hours from 10am until 11.30pm from Monday to Wednesday and on Sundays, and until 12.30am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The consultation runs until Wednesday. A planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.

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