In a huge victory for pub culture, one of the UK’s most beloved boozers has just been saved from closure after a successful campaign to save it from a licence review.
The Compton Arms in Islington, north London, was put under the review back in August after four local households told the council that it was a public nuisance to the community. They alleged that it was badly run, and that its owners had refused to communicate with them about the issue.
Landlord Nick Stephens said at the time that ‘this famous, historic pub will no longer be financially viable for us’ if the complainants’ changes to the licence were brought in.
Locals immediately rallied around the pub, which we had recently named as the second best in the whole of the UK. The Compton Arms has been around since the 1800s, tucked away on a quiet street in Highbury, and is loved by Arsenal fans and beyond for its great selection of pints and even better seasonal small-plates menu.
George Orwell was even a patron of the pub, and it is thought to have been the inspo behind his 1946 essay ‘The Moon Under Water’. In it, he described the perfect pub as somewhere it is ‘always quiet enough to talk’ and the staff ‘know most of their customers by name’.
Supporters of the Compton Arms sent emails to Islington Council opposing the allegations ahead of the hearing on October 12. Following the hearing, it was agreed that a few changes would be implemented – the back garden will now be strictly seating only, and there can only be 20 people standing outside the front at one time. The complainants had also wanted the garden to shut at 8pm, but they didn’t win on that front.
So it’s generally good news all round, and if you fancy heading down to the Compton Arms sometime soon, it’s likely the staff will be very, very happy to see you.
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