With our first baby – The Grafton – well and truly grown up, Joel and I had been looking for another project to get stuck into for a while. My brother Aidan, who’s been working with us from day one, really needed a new challenge and was being completely crippled by London rents, so a new pub to move into with his little family and run as his own seemed the perfect solution.
After what seemed to be an endless, frustrating, fruitless search, an opportunity finally came up right on our doorstep.
The Bluebell had been a family-run pub known as The Westport Inn for about 25 years, and is only a hop, skip and a jump up the road from The Grafton. Still in Kentish Town – although some might consider it Gospel Oak or even Chalk Farm – it was on the home turf we know and love. The family’s older generation had passed the mantle on to its younger counterpart in 2014, whose ambitions saw it undergo a major transformation to become The Bluebell. Sadly, its new identity was never fully realised and under immensely tragic circumstances the pub closed in November 2014, just a few short months after opening.
I had mixed feelings about taking it on and was really nervous about it for countless reasons: the big investment, the risk of over-stretching ourselves with two pubs, the MASSIVE rent, the looming wedding, the fact that we were already in the midst of a major renovation on our flat, the funny location, the potentially bad vibes….. In the end I kind of just thought; fuck it- what’s life without risks? Sometimes you’ve gotta just dive in and see what happens.
Despite all the major work that’d already been done, it needed a hell of a lot more to inject a bit of soul back into the place and put our stamp on it, so we got to work with our amazing friend and designer Naomi Doran, a bunch of awesome skilled people (not least my lovely Dad) and some slightly-less-skilled-but-generally-willing-and-helpful peeps.
And we made this…
Some before pics…
So why The Gipsy Queen? Well, it’s the original name – it dates back to the 1860s – we just put it back where it belongs.
The Gipsy Queen is at: 166 Malden Road, London, NW5 4BS
Stations: Chalk Farm, Northern Line (10min walk) – Kentish Town West, Overground (13min walk) – Gospel Oak, Overground (14min walk)
Bus routes: 24 – 46 – 393
Tel: 020 3092 0598
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