'Let us back into our pub' say punters
Gastropub under fire from regulars
LIFELONG regulars barred from a historic Somers Town pub
when it went upmarket have started a petition demanding to be
The Somers Town Coffee House in Chalton Street hit the headlines
before Christmas when Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT)
boss Bob Crow was barred with colleagues for loud singing.
The traditional English pub was taken over last summer by two
French women and a local man and turned into a gastropub with
fine china and a wine list. Now it has come under fire from
residents who say it is ripping their community apart.
Activist Frankie Biney, who is organising the petition, said:
The Coffee House has been a place for the community to
meet for decades, but the new owners have banned almost everybody
who used to drink there, usually for trivial things.
We, as a community, believe this is a process of discrimination
We have fought long and hard to build up our community
in what is one of the most deprived estates in the country.
Our pubs are at the heart of our community and the barring
of local people breaks it apart.
They just want to appeal to people in shirts and ties
He estimated that dozens had been banned and said
that he had been barred himself because he had not collected
tools which he kept at the pub and used for community events.
He said the RMT had made a real effort to get involved
with the community since setting up its headquarters in
Chalton Street but that the pubs gentrification meant
it was only for professionals who wont look you
in the eye when they walk past you in the street.
The new owners, Ann-Marie France, Sabine Letort and Robert Gee,
refused to say how many drinkers had been banned or to talk
on the record to the New Journal, but are understood to be wary
of being drawn into a public row with the ex-regulars.
Mr Gee said only: Who we bar is a private matter.