CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Last party at Magic Roundabout as Old Street redesign starts

“But we are looking for a new home for Magic – whether that’s a Magic Tubestop or Magic Carpark. We’re not going to be putting it to bed.”

14 December, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Creative director Sarah Holgate 

WHEN they first opened its doors in June 2015, the founders of the Magic Roundabout bar knew they would not be able to live the dream forever.

Sitting in the middle of 1960s Old Street roundabout, it was always destined to have a short life because of the huge planned redesign of the junction.

So, after three-and-a- half years, the time has come for the unique bar to shut its doors.

Its last party will be on New Year’s Eve.

Creative director Sarah Holgate said: “What should we play as our last song? I think I’m going to be a blubbering wreck when we play it.

“People like the brand and how unique it is. It’s like nothing else in the world.”

The space on top of the tube station remained unused most of the time before the bar moved in.

“It was a wasteland. It didn’t have an address, running water or anything,” said 35-year- old Ms Holgate.

The bar’s second birthday party 

“When we started we had just one bar and this little room section. It took us six months to get everything else running.”

The Magic Roundabout now has several sections and bars, and a full
roof structure, part of which opens up in the summer.

Every six months, it has a full redesign with a different theme, such as Woodstock, 1920s and, the latest, Latin America.

“One of my favourite moments was when we had a morning rave,” said Ms Holgate. “It was on our first anniversary.

“There were about 400 people completely sober jumping around. That’s when I knew it was going to be okay.”

Impossible to miss are the four giant statues of The Beatles in the smoking area, with the Old Street office backdrop above them. In 1968, part of the band’s “A Mad Day Out”

photoshoot saw them posing on the then empty island.

To commemorate that, photographer Tom Murray returned to the site this year. There was also a visit by Andrew Edwards, who made the huge bronze Beatles statues in Liverpool. Replicas now stand at the club.

The Beatles figures 

Ms Holgate feels “lucky” that the bar had an extended lifespan, originally meant only to be a year, but recognises the importance of the redesign that will make the roundabout safer.

A consultation on Transport for London’s plans ended more than three years ago, but enabling work only began this month.

“This is going to become an office site for the works,” she said. “The roundabout layout is not a safe space. It’s very important the work happens.”

There were noise complaints about the Magic Roundabout in the past, but Ms Holgate said they had had none

so far this year. “It’s important to us that our neighbours are happy,” she said.

The team behind the bar also run The Good Mixer in Camden, Peckham Levels – a bar in a multi-storey car park – and Near and Far café in Angel.

As the club’s final days approach, Ms Holgate

said: “I have mixed emotions right now about it closing. I’m really sad to see it go. I don’t know how it’s going to feel going through Old Street and not being here.

“But we are looking for a new home for Magic – whether that’s a Magic Tubestop or Magic Carpark. We’re not going to be putting it to bed.”

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