End of an era as Cronx Brewery opts to close its Boxpark bar

The Cronx Brewery is quitting Boozepark.

Time please!: The Cronx Bar is calling last orders on Monday

The New Addington-based brewers have rented a double unit at the council-subsidised food and drinks shed next to East Croydon Station since it opened five years ago. Getting a young business so closely associated with Croydon to open their first bar was regarded as a coup for Boozepark’s founder, Roger Wade.

But yesterday the brewery’s management issued a statement saying that they would not be renewing their lease.

The Cronx Bar, in a prominent outside location on Dingwall Road, quickly became a staple, go-to venue among the various street food vendors in Boozepark from its launch in October 2016. By 2018, their real ale offering had earned them an entry in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide.

While the brief statement issued by the brewers yesterday blamed “several factors, as well as the coronavirus pandemic”, the timing – as many businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector are returning to full-time operation – appears odd. The brewers say that they hope to have another Croydon bar open “sometime in the future”.

Cheers: The Cronx Bar was a go-to place for real ale fans

Sources close Boozepark suggest that among those “other factors” behind the decision could be the ongoing dissatisfaction shared by some other tenants over the way in which they are treated by the venue’s management when they stage their own money-spinning large-scale events, including screenings of major football matches or the finale of Love Island.

“All of us at The Cronx Bar would like to thank you all for your support and custom over the past five years, we could not have done it without you,” yesterday’s statement from “The Cronx Team” said.

“Due to several factors, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided not to renew our lease with Boxpark when it comes up for renewal in September.

“We will therefore be closing the bar from Monday September 13.

How the Cronx Bar announced its own demise

“We are hopeful to be able to welcome you to a new Cronx venue sometime in the future, but until then you can continue to support us by ordering beer direct from the brewery online and by keeping up to date with our latest news by following us on social media channels.”

It was claimed in 2012, when Mark Russell and Simon Dale founded the Cronx Brewery from premises on an industrial estate on Vulcan Way, that it was the first brewery to open in Croydon for more than a hundred years. The Cronx was certainly the borough’s first commercial brewery operation since 1954.

They now brew five beers, as well as a range of seasonal and one-off brews, but from Monday will no longer have their own retail outlet for their much-admired products.

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4 Responses to End of an era as Cronx Brewery opts to close its Boxpark bar

  1. Chris Flynn says:

    Why does IC constantly refer to it as Boozepark, in a derogatory tone? It was a (positive!) national focal point during the Euros, and when I’ve been there with my young family in the daytime we’ve felt totally comfortable and like there’s something for us all (it’s not just about the booze, but a decent array of interesting and quality food; I’d say there’s actually more limited choice of drinks…!). I appreciate many of the business dealings behind BoxPark may not be virtuous, and you should continue the cynicism of that. But my opinion is it’s a net good thing for the people of Croydon.

    • It’s the well-deserved nickname given by locals to the first Boozepark in Shoreditch, when the ever-so-gentrified fashion boutique outlet started to find bigger profits in flogging £12 cocktails and £6 pints of lager.

      Croydon’s USP is booze, from the moment “Mr Boxpark” flipped the agreement with the council and announced, with no forewarning, that his second outlet would be food and bars only, to its current day notoriety, as a place where football fans through their plastic glasses of the aforementioned over-priced booze in the air when they see England score a goal on the big screen.

      The council loaned Boozepark £3million as a lure to set up at East Croydon. It then handed them its arts festival budget over the next three years – totalling nearly £500,000 – to use for “promotions”. There was also the reductions in Business Rates for Boozepark’s tenants, another out and out public subsidy to make the landlord’s rents less unaffordable. Those are the “deals” that we know about.

      There’s also the unseen costs to other local businesses which never received similar council funding. Some of those have not survived the unfair competition – meaning lost jobs and lost income from their Business Rates. If you were running an independent cafe or bar, would you move in to the Whitgift Centre with Boozepark just up the road?

      When the Met determine that they will no longer pick up the tab for policing Boozepark’s large events, and pass the bill on to the local authority, that will be another public cost that Negrini and her pals never quite thought through.

      So “Boozepark”? Absolutely.

  2. Lewis White says:

    A real loss to the Croydon’s beer-drinking scene.

    I hope that Cronx find another inner Croydon outlet soon.

  3. derekthrower says:

    So the bar without it’s own toilet facility joins the Boxpark casualty list.

    Heard many distressing stories of people who have stayed at Cronx Bar till closing time and then were unable to access the toilet facility inside Boxpark. With all the friendliness and sympathy you find from the bouncers of such locations.

    A consideration for any business that intends to be located outside the main Boxpark site.

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