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Old pub will be new restaurant

Future finally resolved for Kentish Town watering hole?

19 November, 2020 — By Richard Osley

How the building looked as Auntie Annie’s

IT has stood empty for more than half a decade but the future of a former well known pub looks to have been resolved.

The former Auntie Annie’s Porterhouse in Kentish Town will be converted into a new cafe-cum-restaurant, ser­ving coffees in the day and meals from the grill by night.

Councillors approved a licence for Smoky Corner, as it will be known, on Thursday morning.

Residents living in private flats created upstairs after the pub was shut and sold in 2014 had objected on the grounds of possible noise and smell.

But the building’s freeholder said people who bought homes at Founders House always knew they were moving in above a former pub which might one day be brought back to life as somewhere to eat and drink.


Caribbean chain Turtle Bay was once close to moving there but stepped back from a deal, while the Foxtons estate agency was also briefly interested in the site.

Nick Stirton, a director of the company holding the freehold, said Smoky Corner had been chosen ahead of interest from KFC – the secret recipe fried chicken chain.

He said operator Tural Kurminov’s current business, the Oxford Street Eatery, had impressed him and his offer would “fit in with the local community”, adding: “Even though KFC offered the strongest covenant – speaking from a financial point of view – I decided to go with Tural.”

Older customers will remember the pub as the Wolsey Arms, once a prominent watering hole in Kentish Town. In its final days it was briefly revived with an Art Deco lounge make­over, then simply known as Annie’s Bar.


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