Manbar (79 Charing Cross Road) has announced that it has closed with immediate effect.
In a statement published yesterday (Monday 5 January 2015) and reprinted below Manbar owner Chris Amos confirms that the bar has closed.
The finger of blame for the closure is pointed squarely at Westminster Council. The court case in the statement below concerns a complaint from neighbours in the same building about noise which led to Manbar losing its entertainment licence (which was subsequently reinstated) and subsequently changing is weekly line-up.
This is not a good start to 2015 and reminds of the news of the sudden closure of Profile & Lo-Profile two years ago.
Whilst times are no doubt difficult for all bars, we have always felt that Manbar had a disadvantage in being slightly out on a limb from the cluster of gay bars in Soho.
We also understand that the building Manbar occupies on Charing Cross Road was acquired by property company Shaftesbury last year, which has targeted it for redevelopment and changing the mix of tenants (though there is no indication this is related to the closure).
As of today, Manbar at the historic site of 79 Charing Cross Road will cease to trade.
Ever since the Westminster Court Case happened last April, Manbar has suffered. When we lost the appeal resulting in losing our entertainment licence the takings went down 50% and since the entertainment licence was reinstated, Manbar has not been able to recover.
Owner Chris Amos says: “I am extremely sadden to have to announce Manbar has closed down. December and New Years revenue was considerably less than we expected. We had been counting on good takings from the festive season to help push a resurgence for Manbar but it never eventuated. I sincerely believe had we not had to spend considerable amount of time and money fighting Westminster City Council to keep our entertainment licence, Manbar would still be open today.”
Update August 2015: More than six months on, the property formerly occupied by Manbar is currently empty.