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Trouble brewing? Send in peacemaker Rick

Never Gonna Give You Up star called to the bar to help allay residents’ noise concerns

18 October, 2019 — By Anna Cooban

Rick Astley with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, right

EIGHTIES heartthrob Rick Astley is being called in to act as a peacemaker in a new pub’s dispute with neighbours.

Residents living around Exmouth Market, Clerk­enwell, had lodged formal objections to Islington Council after a licensing application was filed for a new bar and brewery called The Good Old Days.

They said they were “very worried” about the potential for “late-night noise and anti-social behaviour”, adding that they had already suffered the sounds of “smashing bottles” and late-night brawls.

Owners of the venue, part of the Mikkeller chain of international bars and breweries, responded to the concerns by arranging for Mr Astley, a long-time craft beer enthusiast, to stop by at its launch.

Mads Snedevind, the operations manager for the new bar, said: “We love working with him [Rick Astley], and we’re planning on brewing a new beer with him for release at the pop-up stage – having Rick down to hang out on Exmouth Market with all of our guests. We believe working with Rick gives us a unique atmosphere in our bars, and a fun talking point for the locals.”

Islington’s licensing com­­­mittee gave the applicants the green light last Thurs­day, with conditions.

The Never Gonna Give You Up singer met Mikkeller founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø four years ago after Mr Bjergsø reached out to his childhood hero. They established a firm friendship which evolved into a business partnership, with Mr Astley helping to open Mikkeller’s first bar in Hackney Road last October.

Punters at the new premises can expect to taste Astley-inspired beers such as “Rick’s Berliner” and “Astley’s Northern Hop” – the ­latter a lager infused with ginger, a nod to Mr Astley’s strawberry blond hair.

Design documents for the upcoming Exmouth Market branch reveal plans to install four brewing tanks in the basement, with one named affectionately after “Uncle Rick”.

But the prospect of Astley-based anecdotes may not be enough to ease the concerns of residents already frustrated with current levels of noise and disorderly behaviour on the sociable market street.

According to one complaint, the original licensing documents failed to explain how the premises – which intends to play amplified music and host live concerts – would be adequately soundproofed.

Mr Snedevind responded in September, after consulting with Islington’s environment pollution policy and projects team, by agreeing to install sound insulation equipment.

Should that prove insufficient, the letter stated, owners would hire an “acoustic consultant” to implement a state-of-the-art noise control system.

Exmouth Market’s Mikkeller bar is set to open next Saturday as a pop-up with the official launch of the brewery in early 2020. Mr Snedevind has confirmed that Mr Astley will be at next year’s launch and is set to perform live.

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