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.
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.
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.
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.
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at email@example.com
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period