It’s a Valentine’s day massacre as Spoons close Milan Bar

One of the town centre’s biggest and most popular pubs, The Milan Bar, is to close for a final time this weekend, the management at JD Wetherspoons confirmed to Inside Croydon.

Last orders: The Milan Bar, which is set to close for a final time this weekend

But the company refused to deny reports that another of their chain’s Croydon pubs, The Skylark on South End, is also doomed.

Wetherspoons has given no reason for the sudden closure of The Milan Bar.

The closure of the all-day drinking and dining bar, with its cavernous cellar capable of accommodating hundreds of thirsty and hungry customers, will come as another bitter blow to the heart of Croydon.

The shopping and hospitality area has been struggling through covid lockdowns after a decade of development blight that was caused by uncertainties created by a £1.4billion Westfield development that never even started.

Doomed bar: with cheap beer and meal deals, The Milan Bar always seemed busy

Located in the Grants leisure development on the High Street, The Milan Bar opened in 2002, and although seemingly always busy and successful, Wetherspoons has looked at selling the pub once before, about five years ago.

Some have suggested that, in common with other pubs, restaurants and businesses in Croydon town centre’s night-time economy, The Milan Bar’s trade numbers may have been hit because of its proximity to the council-subsidised Boxpark, next to East Croydon Station.

Today, the company’s spokesperson refused to offer any explanation for the decision to close The Milan Bar, somewhat abruptly, after the last punters leave at closing time on Sunday, February 13.

“There will be no redundancies as all staff will be offered jobs at other Wetherspoon pubs in the borough,” they said.

“We know that our loyal staff and customers will be disappointed with the decision. However, on occasion Wetherspoon does close some of its pubs and this is the case here.

“We would wish to thank our customers and staff for their loyalty over the past 20 years.”

Wetherspoons has meanwhile refused to comment about the future of The Skylark, which is subject of a petition which has attracted more than 400 signatures in less than 24 hours calling on the chain to save the pub from a feared closure.

Signing up a closure: the people behind this online petition seem concerned about the Skylark’s future

This lunchtime, bar staff who spoke to Inside Croydon said that they, too, had heard rumours that the pub – which occupies a former cinema – might be about to close.

“But we haven’t been told anything by the management,” one said, asking, for understandable reasons, not to be named.

Most hospitality businesses have struggled over the last two, covid years, but Wetherspoons have also been the subject of an anti-Brexit boycott by many former customers, angry at the role played by Tim Martin, the founder of the pub chain.

Martin even conducted a national pub crawl around Wetherspoons pubs to argue the case for leaving the European Union, and the Skylark was one of the venues on his itinerary.

Come the appointed hour, however, and Martin was a no show.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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5 Responses to It’s a Valentine’s day massacre as Spoons close Milan Bar

  1. Grace Onions says:

    Oh no! Where can I go now to embarrass my teenage children and have a glass of wine??!?!?!

  2. Peter Underwood says:

    I’m no fan of Wetherspoons but it’s sad to see another closure in Croydon town centre.

    Leaving the future of our town in the hands of big developers, chain businesses, and ex-Council executives and Councillors has left it in a poor state. Unbuilt shopping centre, half demolished Saint Georges Walk, and unfinished Fairfield Halls.

    It’s no wonder town centre businesses are struggling.

    We need to get local people involved in deciding what to do in the town centre. We need a real local plan that works for Croydon people. We need to make our town centre a place people want to go instead of a place people are leaving.

  3. Pete Jenkins says:

    Regarding “The Skylark”, we don’t think it was ever a cinema. A carpet store, a Green Shield Stamps shop and a gym were parts of it’s previous life. So it could be Last Orders there, but not the film that starred Michael Caine and Tom Courtney some 20 years ago.

  4. Frank Ward says:

    It used to be Grants. When converted to the cinema and bars the magnificent facade was taken down and rebuilt.

  5. Lewis White says:

    Not a good day for lovers of real ale, as Wetherspoons sell a huge range from larger and smaller breweries, particularly for those of us who enjoy a pint of well-kept beer at low ” ‘spoons” prices.

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