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The Albert pub re-opens but now faces lockdown

Broadcaster Andrew Marr cuts the ribbon after six-year campaign

06 November, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Andrew Marr was the guest of honour on Friday

A PUB has been forced to shut one week after its grand relaunch following a six-year community campaign.

The Albert in Princess Road was officially reopened by broad­caster Andrew Marr on Friday.

Owner Sam Moss, who also runs the Haverstock Tavern in Belsize Park, said: “Obviously it is deeply frustrating to have to close so soon after reopening. But if the idea is to let everyone reopen in early December under Tier 2 rules, and allow them to go for it over Christmas, then it won’t be that bad and you can understand it.”

But he added: “What does seem wilfully malicious is the ban on alcohol takeaway. It’s crazy that you can go off to Sainsbury’s and buy booze, and not your independent pub on the corner of your street.”

Mr Moss said he believed pubs were “punished” because of the uproar caused by so-called “off sales” in the West End.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the government appeared to make a U-turn on off sales allowing for takeaway alcohol to be bought from pubs as long as it was ordered in advance.

The Albert shut in 2014 but there was a successful campaign to stop it being turned into flats and for the council to give it better planning protection as a listed Asset of Community Value.

On Friday, Mr Marr said: “I’m sure it will be a success because right across London, the centre of the city is dying, but small villages all around London are reviving as people eat out and shop local – it’s really interesting.”

He added: “Seven years ago to the day, after my stroke, one of the first places I came was here. It was here that I learned politically where Primrose Hill was. It has a reputation of being slightly on the Left. There’s an awful lot of social housing, old working class Londoners – and then at the other end you have people like Elisabeth Murdoch, famous actors and bankers.

“But what I think we are losing by time and age, are all those quite political east European migrants who arrived here in the 1930s, the intellectual left group, who have now departed this planet basically.”

Campaigner Phil Cowan said “it has been a bittersweet experience” but that the new operators were in for the “long haul”.

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