London’s 12 Bar Club re-opened by squatters

The iconic Soho venue was officially shut down earlier this month

London’s 12 Bar Club has been re-opened by squatters.

The Denmark Street venue was closed earlier this month, but has been occupied by a group calling themselves ‘Bohemians 4 Soho’, who re-opened the venue on Friday (January 23), reports The Guardian. Despite this, an injunction order has been posted on the venue doors banning parties, the playing of music and distribution of alcohol.

The Guardian quotes one of the activists as saying: “We have joined forces to protest about social cleansing and the actions of corporate developers who want to change the face of Soho.” Site developers Consolidated Developments have applied for an interim possession order, with the case to be heard on January 28.

Creation Records founder Alan McGee’s latest signing Alias Kid planned to perform an acoustic set at the bar this afternoon (January 26). “The destruction of rock’n’roll culture throughout Britain continues – Lydon predicted it in ‘Anarchy’, the amount of venues they are closing for more developments is countrywide… country would be the right use of the word for the powers that be,” said McGee.

Meanwhile, a new official outpost of the venue has opened on Holloway Road in north London, at Phibbers pub. 12 Bar manager Andy Lowe has said of the new 12 Bar: “Obviously, there will be lots of teething troubles as it is such a new and different environment in every sense but it is an area that does have music venues, some of which do well and some not so well. Buffalo Bar used to be just down the road from our new place and that was great.There is a large student demographic in the area so there is a lot of potential there, as some venues have been well sustained around here, but others have not.”

Since the Denmark Street location opened in 1994, the 12 Bar Club has been a key breaking ground for unsigned artists. The venue saw UK debuts from the likes of Jeff Buckley, Katie Melua, Keane, and Adele, as well as performances from The Libertines and Jamie T.

A spokesperson for the property developer Consolidated said in September 2014 of their plans for Denmark Street: “We have a long-standing interest in Soho and are intent on working with the local community to preserve and enhance the heritage of Denmark Street and the surrounding area. As is the nature of redevelopment, change is inevitable, but it is hoped that in the long run this will be instrumental to a positive future for the area”.