As legendary London venues go, Canavan’s pool club in Peckham is right up there with the Royal Albert Hall, The Good Mixer and some other places. It’s a proper south London fixture, a place you suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself in, like heaven. Tragically, SE15’s pearly gates are now about to be padlocked for the last time. In a Facebook post, the club’s owner, Kieran Canavan, announced that it would be shutting for good tonight (September 25).
‘With no help from the government and after having talks with the landladies they are refusing to reduce the rent until the virus is dealt with. I can not afford to pay three months rent in advance in this situation.’ Canavan then goes on to specifically cite the government’s new 10pm curfew for venues as the final nail in the coffin: ‘As you know we are a night time club and only get busy after 10pm [so] there is no way I can survive.’
If you’ve never heard of Canavan’s, let alone been to it, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about over a pool club. But it has been so much more. Aside from playing pool – which you can definitely do here – Canavan’s has been a remarkable, protean venue that has weathered Peckham’s sometimes insane-feeling gentrification with some inspired nightlife programming, including its excellent all-vinyl Rhythm Section nights. Obviously a cosy 100-person dancefloor currently has a capacity of approximately four punters, but it’s clear that venues like Canavan’s are going to be hardest hit by the recent night-time legislation.
Canavan’s has been able to move with the times while never losing its grimy SE authenticity. It’s survived previous threats of closure, but looks like it’s run out of road this time. It’s a bad loss for Peckham and the capital.
Amazingly, some new places are actually opening in London.
Staying in? Here’s a map of Covid cases by postcode.