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Kym's
Photograph: Gavrii Lux

The London restaurants and bars that won’t reopen after lockdown

Some of the capital’s best restaurants and bars won’t be returning after a testing few months of closure

By Laura Richards
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On Friday March 20, all bars, restaurants and hospitality venues were ordered to close their doors to the public. Months on from that (we hate to use the word) ‘unprecedented’ announcement, many of London’s best-loved establishments still have their shutters down. And for some of them, it’s for good.

Although lots of London’s bars and restaurants have flung open their socially distanced doors again or kept the kitchens going with takeaways and deliveries, in many cases a comeback hasn’t happened. For numerous venues, operating under current restrictions – from running a small restaurant floor under social distancing to working around the all-new 10pm curfew – is an impossibility. 

Here, we bid adieu to the London restaurants and bars that have so far confirmed they won’t be reopening. 

London restaurant and bar closures: the full list

dinerama
dinerama
Photograph: Dinerama

Dinerama

Restaurants Street food Shoreditch

When it reopened after lockdown on July 17, Dinerama announced it would be for a final ten-week stint before closing for good, saying it had been forced to shut after failing to agree a deal with the landlords. The Shoreditch street-food mecca will be remembered for raising the profile of many of the most popular London street-food traders – Breddos and Smokestak included – as well as for its epic late-night parties and bank holiday benders.

Venue says Hungry? Head down to our street food arena for fried chicken from Thunderbird, steak prego from Up In My Grill, or steamed buns from Yum Bun

Crobar
Crobar
Crobar

Crobar

Bars and pubs Soho

One of central London’s icons won’t live to rock another day: Crobar has said it won’t be able to reopen due to difficulties with rent payments during lockdown. Crobar first opened in 2001 as an antidote to the area’s mainstream nightclubs and bars, and its rockin’ drinks collection, heavy-metal-heavy jukebox and anarchistic atmosphere fast made it a firm favourite for those in the know. We’re raising a bourbon to the legendary haunt right now.

Venue says Still going strong after 17 years. Come and join us for excellent music, great booze and super friendly people!

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Kym's
Kym's
Photograph: Gavrii Lux

Kym’s

Restaurants Chinese Bank

At the end of September, Kym’s – the Bloomberg Arcade spot from Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong – took to Twitter to let Londoners know it wouldn’t be returning. We’ll be sad to see the last of Chinese small plates and street food-influenced eats we described as ‘frickin’ ace’ and awarded four stars to.

Photograph: Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club
Photograph: Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club
Photograph: Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club

Canavan’s Peckham Pool Club

Clubs Peckham

Peckham’s iconic bar, pool hall and nightlife venue Canavan’s declared itself a victim to the 10pm curfew when it shared it would be closing for good this September. Canavan’s has been a remarkable venue know for its dancefloor, cheap booze and inspired late-night programming, including its excellent all-vinyl Rhythm Section nights.

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Milk & Honey

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Soho

Raise a glass to this legendary bar Soho speakeasy Milk & Honey, which has called last orders. It reopened in July to customers and members, but with the shock announcement that it would be closing for good after its final ten-week stint of service – and that’s after 18 years in business. Bar owner Jonathan Downey cited the lack of a rent freeze or reduction from landlords as the cause for the cocktail joint’s closure. The bar was fundamental in establishing the speakeasy trend in London and trained up many of the capital’s best cocktail makers.

Vanilla Black
Vanilla Black
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out

Vanilla Black

Restaurants Vegetarian Holborn

Long before the capital’s vegetarian and vegan restaurant scene had truly taken off, Vanilla Black was doing things to the humble vegetable that you’d never have dreamed of. But sadly, after 16 years in the game, the restaurant confirmed its closure in September. ‘As a small independent restaurant which has traded for 16 years, the effects of the last few months have been immensely devastating,’ said its owners on Vanilla Black’s website. They’re yet to rule out a comeback, but for now its farewell to its faithful Holborn site.

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The Jellied Eel
The Jellied Eel
Photograph: David Clack

The Jellied Eel

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Walthamstow

London’s cherished cocktail bar inside a pie-and-mash shop sadly won’t be returning. The pop-up bar Time Out had awarded five stars to announced in August that it wouldn’t be making a comeback to L Manze’s on Walthamstow High Street. During lockdown, the bar saw success delivering its range of bottled cocktails. In the announcement, its founder suggested it was on the lookout for a fitting new venue – but it’s hard to imagine finding another as unique.

piebury corner in london
piebury corner in london
Photograph: Piebury Corner

Piebury Corner

Restaurants Pie and mash shop Holloway Road

The chiefs behind legendary pastie shop Piebury Corner announced ‘heartbreaking’ news to followers that it wouldn’t be reopening. The pie shop had been a favourite of Arsenal fans for years (even Ian Wright sent his condolences upon the news), first operating as a stall on match days in 2011 before flourishing as a full-fledged café for the Holloway Road area a year later. One ray of hope: the deli suggested it might return to its humble roots as a pie stall near the stadium.

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Bubbledogs
Bubbledogs
Photograph: Jamie Lau

Bubbledogs

Bars and pubs Wine bars Fitzrovia

The novelty of chomping on a hotdog while quaffing glasses of grower champagne is now one sadly confined to your own home, with the closure of Bubbledogs. It had been around for more than six years and had even undergone a recent refurb, but the space is now being used to allow its sister Kitchen Table (a Michelin-starred restaurant residing in the basement) to spread out under social distancing. The silver lining? You can purchase fizz online from Bubbleshop.

Dishes served up at Lucknow 49
Dishes served up at Lucknow 49
Courtesy of Lucknow 49

Lucknow 49

Restaurants Indian Mayfair

With ‘a heavy heart’, Mayfair’s homely Indian restaurant broke the news of its closure to its followers on Instagram. ‘Because of the catastrophic extent to which it has effected the entire hospitality industry, we are sadly unable to re-open in a safe and financially viable way, and have therefore made the difficult decision to close,’ it said. The restaurant, a sister to Dum Biryani, had drawn its inspiration from north India’s Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow being its capital.

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Hai Cenato

Restaurants Italian Victoria

Jason Atherton’s Victoria-based pizza joint is another restaurant victim, along with its upstairs bar The Drunken Oyster. The restaurant group confirmed to Time Out that the pizzeria in the area’s shiny Nova development wouldn’t be reopening to the public after lockdown.

The Dairy

Restaurants British Clapham

It was always going to be a challenge for this diddy restaurant and its next-door 14-seater concept offshoot to weather this storm, but it was still a shock to hear that Clapham’s The Dairy and Counter Culture are no more. ‘This has been one of the toughest decisions of our lives. The pandemic has hit us harder than we ever imagined it would,’ said chef Robin Gill in the announcement on Instagram. The Dairy fast became a neighbourhood favourite and we loved the spin-off so much that we awarded it five stars when it launched in 2016. The good news? A new branch has already arrived in Bermondsey. Phew!

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Forza Win
Forza Win
© Forza Win

Forza Win Peckham

Restaurants Italian Peckham

The rustic and ever-cool Italian restaurant Forza Win will no longer live on in Peckham’s Copeland Park. Rather than dwell on the negatives, the announcement on Instagram from the restaurant’s team said it was on the lookout for a new site for the concept to live on. Forza Win, after all, began its life as a pop-up supper club. Plus, those keen for its signature Italian eats can still find them just around the corner at sibling rooftop bar Forza Wine.

Emilia
Emilia
Anton Rodriguez

Emilia

Restaurants Italian Bond Street

The owners of The Quality Chop House and Clipstone restaurants have announced their sadness to have to cut Emilia from their pack of restaurants. The Italian spot only opened at Mayfair auction house Bonhams in 2019. ‘It was a great honour to operate in the site and we were humbled by the opportunity given to us by the Bonhams team and the warm welcome we received from all of them while there,’ said co-founder Will Lander in a statement.

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mountgrove bothy
mountgrove bothy
Andy Parsons

The Mountgrove Bothy

Bars and pubs Wine bars Highbury

One of the first wine bars to fall, The Mountgrove Bothy in Highbury has announced it will no longer be pouring one out for its locals. Like many wine bars during lockdown, the Bothy had changed its business model to suit at-home imbibing, offering delivery of its wine supplies to those within a one-mile radius, and stocking its physical shelves with deli items as well as the vino. But alas, the wine bar has now announced on Instagram that it has poured its last glass and it is now ‘time to move on’.

Mushroom dish at Cub, Hoxton
Mushroom dish at Cub, Hoxton
Andy Parsons

Cub

Restaurants Contemporary Global Hoxton

In mid-August, Ryan Chetiyawardana took to Instagram to announce the sad demise of ‘the baby of the group’ in his Mr Lyan restaurant-bar empire. Cub had earned a five-star review from Time Out for its zero-waste concept – dreamed up in collaboration with chef Doug McMaster. It also blurred the boundaries between food and drink and took its sustainable ethos as far as making its tables from old yoghurt pots. The venue will be kept as Mr Lyan’s creative HQ, and Lyaness bar on the South Bank luckily lives on.

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Jidori
Jidori
© Aaron Tilley

Jidori

Restaurants Japanese Dalston

2020 can stick it! Another fatality on the London restaurant scene is Dalston yakatori joint Jidori. The Kingsland High Street restaurant closed its doors in August after four-and-a-half years in the ’hood. ‘It has been a blast but this global pandemic has proven a bit too much for our small shop,’ said the team on Instagram – something we can all empathise with right now. A spin-off branch of Jidori in Covent Garden opened in 2018, only to close the subsequent year. So it’s farewell to what our reviewer described as ‘the best karaage I’ve had in London’. 

Dominique Ansel Bakery
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Victoria

World-famous pastry chef Dominique Ansel has packed up his piping kit and left the UK. The Cronut creator first opened a bakery on our shores in 2016, and to much hype. He’d made his name with the croissant-doughnut hybrid in New York and it didn’t take long for the sweet treat to take on a cult status here, too – along with fellow pastry creation the DKA. The Victoria branch of the bakery has now closed, along with Ansel’s second launch, the Treehouse in Covent Garden.

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Feta and Parsley Pogaca
Feta and Parsley Pogaca
Photograph: Oklava Bakery + Wine

Oklava Bakery + Wine

Restaurants Turkish Fitzrovia

Oklava had only just opened the bakery spin-off to its Turkish-Cypriot restaurant when lockdown happened. Now co-founders Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie have decided to keep the small café-meets-wine-bar closed ‘for the foreseeable future’. Kiazim told followers on Instagram that footfall in central London was too low for the outpost to remain open. Luckily, parent restaurant Oklava is back open again.

Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness
Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness
Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

Andina Shoreditch

Restaurants Peruvian Shoreditch

While sister restaurant Ceviche thankfully lives on, lovers of Peruvian cuisine will be saddened to learn that Shoreditch’s Andina has closed its doors for good. Andina cited dificulties with its landlords over rent in an announcement on Instagram but also said it was working on finding a new space to carry on the concept. With Ceviche in Old Street still temporarily shut, you’ll have to head into Ceviche Soho for your pisco sour fix right now.

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teatulia
teatulia
© Jason Bailey

Teatulia

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Seven Dials

Tea bar (yes, it’s a thing) and café Teatulia shared news that it wouldn’t be reopening its Covent Garden store in July on social media. ‘Under the current climate, we are finding it impossible to operate at our premium-rent Covent Garden store,’ it said on Instagram. It will continue selling its posh products online, but for now it’s goodbye to tea-infused cocktails and a very peaceful bevvy in the heart of town.

Bodega Rita’s

Shopping King’s Cross

Alas, the team behind hip sandwich hotspot Bodega Rita’s have already had to call it a day. ‘It has become impossible for us to continue safely towards our long term goals with new trade restrictions in place,’ said the team on its decision to call an early end to the lease of its petite shop space in Coal Drops Yard. Its loaded egg sarnies and banging vegan bahn mi will be greatly missed. ⁣

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Cereal Killer Café

Restaurants Brick Lane

The twin-brother owners of Cereal Killer Café – the cult London hangout where you could eat bowls of cereal at any time of day – took to Facebook to alert their adoring audience that both the Brick Lane and Camden venues won’t be returning. The pair talked of their hopes of a comeback in a year or so’s time, but for now, cereal lovers can purchase from their sprawling online collection to fill the Sugar Puff-shaped void.

Shepherdess Cafe
Shepherdess Cafe
© Scott Chasserot

Shepherdess Café

Restaurants British Hoxton

After 37 years in the biz, Hoxton’s Shepherdess Café has served its final fry-up. The greasy spoon was known for its gaudy green decor, full English breakfasts and steak and kidney pies. Celebrity customers included 1990s girl band All Saints, Barry from ‘EastEnders’ and Jamie Oliver. The caff put its closure down to ‘a lack of sympathy from agents and landlords’ when announcing the news on its Facebook page.

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Seven at Brixton

Bars and pubs Brixton

Known for buzzing happy hours and good times in the middle of Brixton Village Market, shabby-chic Seven at Brixton has now closed its doors after nine years in business. It said on Instagram that without agreeing a new contract with landlords, the bar would not be reopening when the rest of London hospitality was planning its July 4 comeback. Sister bars Three Eight Four (also in Brixton) and Two Hundred Rye Lane in Peckham have thankfully made a return.

The Greenhouse

Restaurants Haute cuisine Mayfair

Five stars from Time Out and two stars of the Michelin variety couldn’t halt the closure of this Mayfair titan. The restaurant’s executive chef Alex Dilling took to Instagram in early June to announce the sad news that The Greenhouse would be no more. ‘It is with great sadness I confirm the Greenhouse Mayfair will not be reopening,’ he said. Yet another sign of the hit this moneyed part of London is taking from the crisis.

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sardine
sardine
© Andy Parsons

Sardine

Restaurants French Hoxton

Alex Jackson and Stevie Parle’s dream of a Hoxton restaurant announced in June – just shy of the restaurant’s fourth birthday – that it won’t be returning. So it’s a sad goodbye to Provençal home-style dishes and Viognier on tap. ‘For our small space any kind of social distancing would be very difficult to implement and we do not have the resources to trade through the inevitably difficult times ahead,’ said the restaurant’s co-founders in a statement to customers.

T.NARAYAN

Indian Accent

Restaurants Indian Mayfair

Fancy Mayfair restaurant Indian Accent admits that the flossiness of its setting – one of the reasons it was such an exciting place to dine – is also part to blame for its closure. The business announced on its website in June that it will close permanently due to financial contraints, saying it was ‘deeply saddened’ by the move. ‘Social distancing would reduce the restaurant capacity to just 30 covers. This combined with the significant fixed costs as a result of operating on one of the most expensive streets in the world and the general economic uncertainty in the UK, means that the business is unviable at its current location.’

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Le Caprice

Restaurants Contemporary European St James’s

Another West End restaurant to fall victim to the current crisis, Le Caprice was the favoured hangout of Princess Diana and had been in the business of very fine dining for 38 years. It recently announced it would be closing its doors for good. However, the restaurant already has plans in the works for a new site under the same name. Hopefully it’ll be just as slebby.

Rivington Greenwich

Restaurants British Greenwich

Along with Le Caprice, the Greenwich branch of Richard Caring’s Rivington restaurants won’t be making a comeback either. The place was known for its modern bistro dishes, lengthy gin menu and an outdoor dining space fit for these times – which perhaps makes its decision to close all the more sad for Greenwich coming out the other side of lockdown.

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The Ledbury
The Ledbury
Photograph: Jake Eastham

The Ledbury

Restaurants French Notting Hill

Michelin-starred spot and Time Out favourite The Ledbury is one of many fine dining restaurants that’s struggled to find a way around social distancing. The Notting Hill haunt announced at the start of June that it has no plans to reopen with head cheff Brett Graham saying he didn’t want to put anybody at risk. The business is said to be keeping the lease on the site for now, but staff have entered a redundancy consultation period. In 2019 we said that ‘dishes from Aussie chef Brett Graham are as close to perfection on a plate as you’ll get in this town.’ So we’re definitely holding out for a future Ledbury of some form.

Wahlburgers
Wahlburgers
Photograph: Wahlburgers

Wahlburgers

Restaurants American Covent Garden

Celebrities are feeling the full force of the crisis, too. Mark Wahlberg won’t be reopening the one and only UK outpost of his family burger chain Wahlburgers, which only arrived on these shores in May 2019. There was speculation towards the end of last year that the Covent Garden branch was in trouble, despite original plans for a UK-wide rollout of the chain. And now, it’s been confirmed that the restaurant won’t be making a comeback. ‘Our franchisee had to make the difficult decision to close this location due to the financial impacts of the pandemic on the restaurant industry, as well as the uncertainty of consumer behavior post pandemic in a location such as this,’ said the group in a statement.

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Siren at Goring
Siren at Goring
David Cotsworth

Siren at The Goring

Restaurants Seafood Victoria

An old-school London hotel like The Goring won’t let a thing like a pandemic bring it down. But its modern restaurant, fronted by acclaimed seafood chef Nathan Outlaw, sadly hasn’t stood the test of time. It was the first new restaurant to open at the Goring in 109 years when it arrived in 2019, but the hotel confirmed there will be no more of its crab tarts and lobster fritters when The Goring gets back on its feet. ‘Due to the situation that all of us in UK hospitality find ourselves in, we are going to have to operate differently for a while in order to protect the business and its staff in the long term. For this reason, when we eventually reopen the Goring it will be with a smaller food and beverage department, and very sadly we will not be able to reopen Siren,’ said hotel owner Jeremy Goring.

Texture

Restaurants Haute cuisine Marylebone

Marylebone’s Michelin-starred and Scandi-influenced kitchen and champagne bar Texture bids adieu to London after 13 years – and plenty of accolades. It was one of the first restaurants to announce its permanent closure as a result of the crisis back in May. It’s chef-owner Agnar Sverrisson told Bloomberg’s Richard Vines that the restaurant would not be reopening after lockdown and that he had returned to his native Iceland.

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Tramshed
Tramshed
Alys Tomlinson / Time Out

Tramshed

Restaurants British Shoreditch

Back in April, Mark Hix’s restaurant empire went into administration. While other restaurants in the Hix group had already closed at the start of the year, the news means that Tramshed (famous for its whole roast chicken and Damien Hirst formaldehyde cow), Hixter Bankside and Hix Oyster and Chophouse won’t be returning after lockdown eases. ‘Apart from tough times and sad times for me, it is nothing compared to what so many of my team, and others that are reliant on our business, are going through,’ said Hix on Instagram.

The Frog Hoxton

Restaurants Contemporary European Spitalfields

Okay, so our Food Editor didn’t love The Frog when first visiting in 2016, but many Time Out readers left reviews on our website waxing lyrical about the first solo outing from ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ finalist Adam Handling, with its experimental culinary twists and turns. It announced in March that it wouldn’t be reopening its Hoxton location, but the Covent Garden site should remain in business.

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