Another bar closes with a Txt message for Croydon business

Are we witnessing the real impact of Boozepark on the rest of Croydon’s night time economy, with the announcement of the closure of another bar within a mile of the council-subsidised food and drink venue?

Another bar in Croydon to close

Another bar in Croydon to close

Bar Txt, on South End, is to close at the end of this month.

This follows the closure of The Glamorgan, the gastropub on Cherry Orchard Road, a short walk from Boxpark, and the windows being boarded up on The View, on Selsdon Road, as reported this week by Inside Croydon.

None of the landlords or owners of those pubs, or other food and drink businesses around central Croydon. have yet directly attributed their closures to the opening of the vast Boxpark complex next to East Croydon Station last November.

But against a faltering economy and rising business rates, having a giant rival operation plonked down in your neighbourhood, sucking in the trade, cannot have helped. Boxpark has been encouraged to open in Croydon with a £3million loan from Croydon Council, arranged by council chief exec Jo Negrini, and with the additional boost of £160,000-worth of grant money to stage a promotional opening festival.

Meanwhile, according to the most recent set of accounts filed at Companies House, Bar Txt’s parent company had accumulated liabilities of more than £100,000.

In statements on their Instagram account this week, Bar Txt owners said: “So, unfortunately we have some bad news. Bar Txt is closing down and we will be shutting the doors at the end of the month.

Linda Arthur: set up the South Croydon Food Festival

Linda Arthur: set up the South Croydon Food Festival

“We have enjoyed being involved in so many of your awesome nights and in being a part of the South Croydon community, so we’re very sad to be leaving. It’s been a crazy, wonderful few years and we’ll miss you all, from you guys, our DJ’s [sic], bartenders and security, to other local businesses and everyone involved in the Croydon Food Festival, of which we are (and always will be) incredibly proud of helping get off the ground.”

Linda Arthur, one of Bar Txt’s directors, also ran the South Croydon Business Association. The South Croydon Food Festival received some financial backing from the council over the past four years, though it was modest by Boozepark standards, and the event also had the burden of having PR agency Grey Label trying to source its commercial sponsorships.

Today, one of the South Croydon Business members questioned Bar Txt’s business model. “People only go to an expensive bar for a few years of their lives.

“Bar Txt has not built relationships up with the wider community, it is not family friendly. Compare to the bars elsewhere. It does not open every day, so even its regulars have to go elsewhere a few days every week. No business can survive without the dull, steady regulars.

“Across the road from Bar Txt is Bagatti’s – one of the most successful local restaurants: it is friendly, engaged in the local community; it builds long-term relationships; and welcomes three generations and people go there for years. It may be pitched at ‘fine dining’, but it is still affordable and generally always busy – a good balance between the need to survive and make profit, and the needs of the customer.

“The businesses that do well have a wide appeal and are affordable.”

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3 Responses to Another bar closes with a Txt message for Croydon business

  1. It’s a shame to see anyone go out of business but I’ve walked past and seen this place do very limited business (or even be totally empty) on peak evenings while other nearby businesses were doing a roaring trade long before Boxpark opened. The same is true of the Glamorgan which was grim.

    The View? That’s a mile and half from Boxpark in a packed residential area that pubs like the Purley Arms and Crown and Sceptre seem to have no problem appealing to on a nightly basis.

    • Think some of the implied criticisms of Bar Txt’s management in the article also reflect this. The place did not bother opening two nights of the week – that’s hardly “squeezing your assets”.

      And pubs/bars have been closing all the time, for various reasons. No small, independent foood or drink outlet in the borough will ever be able to afford the kind of marketing push which has been afforded to Boxpark, though, and it would be wrong to dismiss the impact it may be having on other local traders.

  2. Jonathan Law says:

    Whilst I won’t doubt or deny the impact of Boxpark on it’s trading, I think it has faced some stiff competition closer to it’s front door as a few of the businesses on South End have converted themselves to Cocktail and lounge bars and Cafe Havana and others offering Shisha for those who want to dabble with that. I think the afters/desserts and similar cafes offering coffee and cake and friendly socialising space are also appealing to those that may not feel the need for alcohol.

    Looking at pubs that have a good steady draw it seems to be the pubs that put on events ranging from pub quizzes to poetry to live music that keep a steady footfall in otherwise tricky times.
    Now that Fairfield Halls is closed (have to wonder if it will ever re-open) it once again strikes me that Croydon has a disgraceful lack of live music venues of any note.
    Central Croydon is so well connected by transport and to the heart of London (when Southern Rail aren’t cocking it up for everyone) that it could easily have a variety of music venues that would draw in from far and wide.
    Fairfield halls itself could be busy every night if it could shift it’s focus away from only doing “Max Bygraves tribute acts” and other fuddy duddy events as it has seemed to do in recent years. The Arnhem Gallery could be a great standing live music hall with a killer sound system.
    Could someone not open a venue like the Greyhound again in the defunct Blue Orchid.
    Nothing against the bars with DJs and dance clubs but Croydon needs some live music events too.

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