CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘I would have done anything to stay’, says Proud boss as he announces bar will close

Proud gallery and nightclub set to shut at start of March

06 February, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

The gallery nightclub in Chalk Farm Road

LANDMARK Camden Market gallery nightclub Proud is set to close.

Boss Alex Proud, one of London’s best known venue owners, said he had offered to double his annual rent but was told his lease would not be renewed by LabTech, which owns the overall Stables Market complex.

He set up the events space in Chalk Farm Road in 2001 but announced today (Tuesday) that it would close its doors at the start of March.  “Our lease has come to an end,” Mr Proud told the New Journal. “We offered to double our current rent but that was not considered enough. I was told the Proud was ‘too tired’ by the current market management and they wanted fresh blood and fresh ideas.”

He added: “I offered more than £1 million a year to stay – that is an extraordinary amount. I used to pay £300,000 and when I first moved in, it was £100,000, which now sounds quite shocking. It is devastating.”

He said the closure of the venue that helped make his name – Mr Proud now owns a venue called Proud Country House in Stanmer Park, Brighton and has worked as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph – was a ‘devastating blow.’ He said: “I am crying my eyes out about it. It feels very much like someone has died. I pleaded and begged to stay. I would have done anything to stay – and would still do.”

Amy Winehouse at Proud [Proud press]

Proud Camden was famed for combining art shows with parties and cabaret performances. It has played host to names such as Sting, Jarvis Cocker, Florence and the Machine, Ray Davies, Moby and Coldplay.

Mr Proud first established a Camden venue in a former warehouse in Greenland Road where he established a formula for mixing art shows with parties – and it proved a hit. Proud soon became known for its celebrity clientele and established itself as a flag bearer for the areas night life, with stars such as Amy Winehouse, Liam Gallagher and Pete Doherty regularly on the guest list.

The current business was thriving, according to its owner, with last year the venue enjoying its highest ever turnover.

He said: “Whichever way you look at it, it is the wrong decision and probably not good for Camden’s live music scene or the night time industry. I wish the greatest success to whoever comes in and replaces us. I am desperately sad there was not a way to stay but I am too old to be bitter. Its the end of a chapter, not the story”

Mr Proud added he was now in talks with Camden Council over launching a new venture in one of two council-owned venues – one in Camden Town, the other elsewhere in the borough. He added: “We are hopeful one might come through. We are still in discussions.”

In the meantime, he said he ahd has planned a month long goodbye party with resident promoters and special guests appearing.

He said: “It is sad for Camden to lose a venue with such a rich musical heritage.”

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