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Toilets in Camden Town set to be transformed into underground bar

Vodka experts behind Ladies And Gentlemen plan second venue

26 March, 2018 — By Richard Osley

How the new bar could look from the outside

ANOTHER set of public toilets are in line to be converted into an underground bar.

The loos near the junction of Royal College Street and Camden Road, in Camden Town, are due to be transformed by the operator which turned disused toilets in Kentish Town into the popular nightspot, Ladies And Gentlemen.

The New Journal reported earlier this year how Camden Council had agreed to let the vacant toilets near Camden Road Overground station with the warning that they had fallen into disrepair.

The proposed conversion follows a long line of public conveniences which have been re-purposed. A music studio operates inside former toilets in Kentish Town Road, having also been a nail bar in the past. In Fitzrovia, a coffee shop operates from ex-loos.

Camden has so far received two objections from people living near the Royal College Street toilets. “This corner does indeed have ‘con­siderable noise-generat­ing activity’ from traffic and the railway. However, that is not justification for adding more noise,” said one. The local conservation committee has asked for public toilets still to be provided there after the conversion, due to “frequent incidents of people urinating in public”.

Rocksteady Bars, headed by vodka expert Will Borrell, faced noise objections when it opened Ladies And Gentlemen in 2014, but the bar has since become a hit. Acerbic restaurant reviewer Giles Coren wrote a stinging column attacking the “Nimbys” who had tried to stop it opening – he said they were “determined to keep London shitty” – while his wife, the writer Esther Walker, said Mr Borrell had added “a great deal to the renaissance of Kentish Town”.

Paperwork for the new application references a decade-old drive to re-badge the area around Camden Road Station as “Camden Broadway”. It has attracted a move by The Draft House pub group into the Grand Union bar, while a tearoom is expected to open in empty offices opposite the station.

The eye-catching Camden Highline project, a walkway linking Camden Town to King’s Cross, is also in the pipeline, with an entrance and exit at the junction.

Council officials are considering whether to grant planning consent for the conversion, a canopy entrance and a lightbox sign with changeable lettering.

“The existing Ladies And Gentleman experiences very few issues in relation to customer rowdiness or general frowned-upon behaviour,” the company said in its application. “The bar’s clientele are a reflection of the bar’s staff and attitude: relaxed, friendly and polite. “This second venture will very much follow these same principles and will seek to establish the same excellent reputation as at Kentish Town.”

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