The London Brewing Company to reopen The Bohemia pub in North Finchley

The Bohemia

The squatters pictured after the raid

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A pub will reopen as a “loved” community venue - months after a dramatic raid  to evict squatters who had set up home in the abandoned building.

People were “heartbroken” when The Bohemia closed was unexpectedly closed by owners Mitchells and Butlers last August - just a few days shy of its first anniversary.

But the shutters will come off the North Finchley pub after the London Brewing Company announced its plans to take over the premises in the spring.

After gaining access to the empty building in late September, a dozen squatters opened it to the community, running workshops and events including yoga, salsa dancing and film nights.

But after a lengthy court battle, bailiffs evicted the self-proclaimed community activists.

Helen Michael, who owns Cafe Buzz opposite the pub, said: “It’s fantastic news - just wonderful. To have a pub in a prime position on the high street empty was just criminal, it was going to waste.

“It was awful, it wasn’t helping any of our businesses. The thought of finishing work and rolling over to the pub for a drink was so nice.

“The more that opens up the more that encourages people to come down. I am so excited.”

The brewing company now plans to carry out an extensive refit, serving its own beers which will be brewed on site, with a microbrewery in the middle of the bar.

Dan Fox, of The London Brewing Company, said, “I am thrilled to finally we able to return The Bohemia to North Finchley.

“As a resident, The Bohemia was my local pub before its closure and I feel strongly that this has given me a real understanding of what the community loved about it as a venue.”

Councillors chose to name the pub as a community asset last year, protecting it from demolition.

Alex Hill, associate director of leisure at property advisers Colliers International, said, “The Bohemia is a fantastic community asset and received a vast amount of interest from many established pub operators.

“We and our clients could not be happier that this much loved pub will now be returned to the community with such an outstanding operator on board with its unique brewing concept.”

   

Comments (7)

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2:17am Sat 8 Mar 14

DopeyDope says...

Perhaps this shows how the squatters were actually a hindrance to the local community and businesses? If done right, squatting is OK. I.E. Leave when asked to.
Perhaps this shows how the squatters were actually a hindrance to the local community and businesses? If done right, squatting is OK. I.E. Leave when asked to. DopeyDope
  • Score: 1

8:42pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Mr E Dance says...

'Perhaps this shows how the squatters were actually a hindrance to the local community and businesses?'

Alternatively DD, you might take the view that if they hadn't made the Bohemia closure so high profile, we might have had another Tesco Express to enhance (sic) our lives.
'Perhaps this shows how the squatters were actually a hindrance to the local community and businesses?' Alternatively DD, you might take the view that if they hadn't made the Bohemia closure so high profile, we might have had another Tesco Express to enhance (sic) our lives. Mr E Dance
  • Score: 3

11:50pm Sun 9 Mar 14

DopeyDope says...

The Bohemia closure was already high-profile. The squatters merely prolonged the closure and when you consider the costs associated with their removal, £23,000 in the courts alone, for some businesses, this would have been too much. That could have played very nicely in to the hands of Tesco, who are certainly not short of a few bob. They could have taken over the lease of the business or the freehold even, and turned it into a Tesco at a later date.

it is fortunate, in my opinion, that the pub is in such a prime location and is a well-remembered and sought after community asset.
The Bohemia closure was already high-profile. The squatters merely prolonged the closure and when you consider the costs associated with their removal, £23,000 in the courts alone, for some businesses, this would have been too much. That could have played very nicely in to the hands of Tesco, who are certainly not short of a few bob. They could have taken over the lease of the business or the freehold even, and turned it into a Tesco at a later date. it is fortunate, in my opinion, that the pub is in such a prime location and is a well-remembered and sought after community asset. DopeyDope
  • Score: -1

2:50am Mon 10 Mar 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

So Mr Dance, you appear to be suggesting that the end justifies the means. That philosophical view didn't work out too well the last time it was tried on a large scale.
So Mr Dance, you appear to be suggesting that the end justifies the means. That philosophical view didn't work out too well the last time it was tried on a large scale. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: -1

9:54am Mon 10 Mar 14

F..kedupBarnet says...

Tesco would have been welcome....
Tesco would have been welcome.... F..kedupBarnet
  • Score: 1

11:57am Tue 11 Mar 14

mallowe says...

........or the hand in the till tories would have tried turn it into a block of flats as with the Castle in Finchley Road eh!
........or the hand in the till tories would have tried turn it into a block of flats as with the Castle in Finchley Road eh! mallowe
  • Score: -1

4:44pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Leharve says...

I never saw more that 10 people in there when it was open.
Way too much square footage to be viable unless buzzing.
Dan Fox and The London Brewing Company are really barking up the wrong tree here. Microbrewery? In North Finchley? Please, this isn't The Cotswolds or a fancy street in Fulham. Well at least the beggars will have a warm doorway to sleep in.
I never saw more that 10 people in there when it was open. Way too much square footage to be viable unless buzzing. Dan Fox and The London Brewing Company are really barking up the wrong tree here. Microbrewery? In North Finchley? Please, this isn't The Cotswolds or a fancy street in Fulham. Well at least the beggars will have a warm doorway to sleep in. Leharve
  • Score: -1

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