Grassroots venue Notting Hill Arts Club transforms into coffee stall to survive coronavirus

"It’s actually generating real income that could save the venue"

Notting Hill Arts Club in West London has hosted its first live music in six months to celebrate the launch of a new coffee stall which they hope will help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The kiosk is situated on the doorstep of the grassroots venue, which has been closed to live performances since March, and is a partnership with East London coffee shop Climpson & Sons.

They celebrated the launch last Friday (September 11), with a live gig by singer-songwriter Jesse Wong, who is signed to the venue’s label, Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings.

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The Hatch has been open at times throughout the summer, prior to their collaboration with Climpson & Sons, selling cocktails and other drinks as a way for locals and fans to support the venue through lockdown.

Notting Hill Arts
George Ezra performs at Notting Hill Arts Club in 2013. CREDIT: Rob Ball/WireImage

With weekly takings sometimes matching or even surpassing the venue’s revenues when hosting regular gigs, they’ve now made the stall a permanent fixture.

“We opened The Hatch for a few hours a day and people started coming to pick up their drinks, then head to the park,” said venue co-owner Shabs Jobanputra.

“It was a way of us using the venue while it is closed during the pandemic. We hoped it would recoup some of the losses but it’s actually generating real income that could save the venue. But like so many venues around the country, we still face a massive challenge to stay viable.We just want to thank everyone for their incredible support so far.”

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UK venues were allowed to reopen for socially-distanced live performances last month, however the Music Venue Trust revealed that two thirds of indoor gig spaces in the UK are either physically unable to operate or can’t do so in a way that’s financially viable.

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