East End residents have opposed the conversion of a long-standing strip joint that “caused little nuisance” into a fashionable late-night restaurant.
Restaurateur and Selfridges food chief Brian Hannon has applied to turn the White Horse pub in Shoreditch High Street — a favourite “City boys” haunt for decades — into a restaurant open until 1.30am from Monday to Saturday.
But a licence application to Hackney council has met a furious response from a number of locals who fear that it will exacerbate “the madness that has caused so many problems in Shoreditch over the past decade”.
The Shoreditch Community Association wrote: “This venue was an adult entertainment club for nearly two decades. Regardless of one’s view on the nature of its business, we can say it caused little nuisance to local residents in recent years.
“The area surrounding the site is often an open-air club, with violence, vomiting, urination, defecation, drug use and unsociable conduct late into the night, presenting real safety and security issues … Allowing a late-night venue will inevitably contribute to the cumulative impact.”
The association added: “This corner is already virtually a no-go area for a sensible family with children.”
Another objector pointed out that White Horse’s sex entertainment licence, which has been surrendered by the new owners, required restrictions such as heavy blinds on all the windows.
The pub closed last August after more than 30 years of entertaining punters with strip shows paid for by £1 coins dropped in a pint glass.
It was described as “the last of the decent East End pubs” by Edie Lamort from the East London Strippers Collective when it shut because of soaring rents in an area, on the fringes of the City, which is being gentrified.
The premises were taken over by Super 8 Restaurants, co-founded by Mr Hannon and chef Benjamin Chapman in 2014, which also runs Soho establishments Kiln and the Smoking Goat.
In the application, Mr Hannon, who is director of food and restaurants at Selfridges, said his outlets use “high quality ingredients from small producers” and have won “outstanding praise for their quality and innovation”.
However, residents said the area could not tolerate another late night drinking venue. One unnamed objector wrote: “The current tilt towards growth of the night-time economy is having a massive impact on residents’ quality of life. We urge you not to grant this — or any other — late night licences in this area.”
The closure of the White Horse, the birthplace of the East London Strippers Collective, followed a 2011 ban on new strip clubs opening in the borough.
The application will go before Hackney’s licensing committee tomorrow.