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Mitchells and Butlers, owners of The Bohemia pub in North Finchley, 'looking for new tenants' after failed Gregarious Ltd bid
The future of a popular North Finchley pub remains uncertain after its owners confirmed today it is looking for new tenants.
The Bohemia, in High Road, closed its doors without warning on Friday morning just 24 hours before it was due to celebrate the first anniversary of its opening.
Gregarious Ltd, which took over the management of the popular venue from pub and club firm Antic in January, has since revealed the closure came as a result of failed lease negotiations with the owner.
The firm spent six months negotiating with leaseholders Mitchells and Butlers, represented by property firm Colliers International, for the permanent transfer of the lease.
But despite trying “up until the last minute” to strike a deal, Gregarious failed in its bid to remain at the venue.
Director Max Alderman today accused Mitchells and Butlers and their representatives Colliers of “sticking two fingers up to the people of North Finchley” in failing to reach an agreement.
He said: “They put up so many barriers it was near impossible for us to come to an agreement. They made unreasonable demands and had no interest in negotiating with us directly.
“Up until the very last minute we had hoped we would strike a deal but Colliers were adamant they didn’t want us to take the lease.
“We didn’t want to leave but we couldn’t legally remain without the lease agreement. We’re still trying to negotiate with them because all we want is to operate that pub.”
An online petition calling for Colliers to reach an agreement with Gregarious has gathered almost 250 signatures since it was set up by North Finchley resident and Labour prospective parliamentary candidate Alon Or-bach this week.
The campaign is also calling on Barnet Council to preserve the venue as a local pub.
Mr Alderman admitted an agreement looked “unlikely” but pledged to continue in his attempts to strike a deal.
He said: “The pub is like the Mary Celeste at the moment – everything is all there set up and ready to go but no-one is in it. We’re hoping we can still do a deal but it is looking increasingly unlikely – we think we have until the end of the week.
“It seems they would rather keep it empty and stick two fingers up to the people of Barnet than let it remain as a pub.
“It was great sadness that it closed. We wanted to continue the journey and finish what we started but Mitchells and Butlers and Colliers didn’t want us to do that.”
A spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers said: “Gregarious Ltd were granted a six-month licence to occupy from the administrators in February.
“During the last few months we have given Gregarious ample opportunity to agree terms and sign a new lease.
"Unfortunately the terms of the lease have not been met, and the licence agreement expired resulting in Gregarious Ltd having to leave the property.
“Looking forward we will continue to explore opportunities for the site and secure a new tenant.”
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