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Evaluating the Night Czar, one year on

Oliver Keens

It’s exactly a year ago tomorrow since London mayor Sadiq Khan announced his choice for the newly created post of Night Czar: comedian, author and Duckie promoter Amy Lamé.

We raved about her selection at the time. But one year on, how has she done? Has the whole experiment of having a Night Czar even worked in London? 

Well, it's important to remember that the job itself isn’t even a full-time role. It’s a £32,000, 2.5 days-a-week role. It’s also important to state that the job has a very wide remit beyond the most emotive issue at hand – keeping London venues open. The job application, for example, stressed that the Czar had to ‘champion the value of London’s night time culture whilst developing and diversifying London’s night time economy’.

So with that in mind, how has she done? Well, you’re a grown-up, so we’re going to leave the judgement part up to you. But to help, we’ve drawn up a brief refresher list of some of the stories – both good and bad – that for us sum up the last year in London’s nightlife. Happy reading...

Tower Hamlets and Hackney Councils both announce a levy for venues serving alcohol after midnight.

Fabric reopens with strict new licensing guidelines.

The Garage and The Borderline reopen following slick revamps.

Live music and arts venue The Sound Lounge in Tooting opens after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Studio 338 reopens its garden in June following a major fire last year. The terrace and studio is reopening at the end of October.

Printworks opens in February, championed as a new model for London nightlife, despite having a relatively early closing time. 

The Good Ship in Kilburn closes after a lengthy licensing battle.

The Night Tube service expands to the Northern line and the Piccadilly line.

The East London overground is to become a Night Tube service.

Piccadilly late night tube struggles with staffing due to sick drivers.

Police Community Support Officers on the tube threaten strike action over struggle to get home on public transport.

And then Night Tube drivers also threatened to strike.

The London Mayor introduces a task force to tackle the number of homeless people sleeping on the Night Tube and night buses.

Met police announce a surge in the number of violent and sexual crimes across the city’s bars and clubs.

Night Czar announces London-wide charter ensuring women’s safety at night.

Councils now have to consider the impacts on music venues when granting approval to convert offices to flats. 

The George Tavern's indefatigable landlady Pauline Forster is given an award for her decade-long protest against the development of flats close to her historic pub-cum-gig venue.

Tower Hamlets council has since sold a building backing on to the The George Tavern’s beer garden.

The number of LGBT+ venues continues to drop. The number has more than halved in a decade, dropping from 127 in 2006, to 53 in 2017.

New men-only gay club Bloc South opens in Vauxhall.

Tower Hamlets grants closed legendary gay bar The Joiners Arms a 25-year lease as long as it remains an LGBT+ establishment.

An agreement is reached over reopening iconic Camden LGBTQ+ cabaret spot The Black Cap. Now the venue just needs someone with £1million

A survey reveals that 42% of musicians receive parking fines when moving their equipment to and from venues. 

Sadiq Khan orders a review of Form 696 amidst claims of targeting grime and garage acts.

Apple Music Festival is cancelled after ten years of free gigs in place of one-off events.

A beauty salon in South Norwood is closed after hosting weekly all-night parties. Large speakers are found embedded into a wall.

Phew. What a year. Now why not see what decent nights are on this weekend here.


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