The future of Henry’s as a venue (or lack thereof).

I realise it’s been a very long time since we last posted, but there was not much we could publicly share… although as of this week there are obvious changes people have started to notice, and it looks like what used to be Henry’s will reopen soon as a completely different thing, and some folks have been talking and sharing their concerns online, so I guess it’s time to try to explain a little bit.

In 2020 we found ourselves in the middle of a very convoluted situation that threatened our future, and although we’d been hoping to come back one day somehow, in the last few days it’s been made a lot clearer to everyone that it isn’t gonna be the case – not any time soon anyway, or at least not in the same location!

And I’m not blaming Covid, if anything Covid helped us keep the faith a little while longer, the timing was “perfect” for us, if you can call that perfect; all venues had to shut down anyway, so it wasn’t just us, and there was help, and we could use that time to sort out issues and get ready to reopen.

In the end we had to give up just a few months ago, we can’t discuss all the ins and outs here, and unfortunately there’s nothing anyone can do at this point to help, we had all the help we could get including funding, support from the Music Venue Trust, and a couple of good solicitors on our side, but it was a really complicated legal situation involving 5 different parties over the course of 2 years (special thanks to Nicolas McBride from BTO Solicitors who was the one representing us), which may still end up in court one day – or not.

In March we ended up having to clear the venue completely, and although we’d tried to keep staff on as long as there was still some sort of hope, we had to make everyone redundant, with the last employee finishing last month (whilst we were still sorting stuff out that’s now in storage – we’re probably gonna have to try and sell most of it soon too).

The spirit of Henry’s (and the spirit of Good Cunts) may come back in another form or location one day (we own the trademark after all, for real, so at least no chancers can try and cash in on the name), but in the meantime that’s what’s about to replace us: karaoke apparently. And bland colours. I’d expect a lot of slickness too, the exact opposite of what Henry’s has always stood for. What a sad statement.

I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the 17 years I’ve been involved with Henry’s (especially the last few since 2016 when I finally got to run the whole venue including the bar myself), and everyone who supported Henry’s even before then, since its beginnings as a music venue 30 years ago, but that’s us for now.

And since I own the rights to the name Henry’s Cellar Bar I’m also hoping to use the website to start some sort of archive / story of the crazy Henry’s years we’ve had, whenever I can get my shit together whilst in the middle of trying to sort other stuff and looking for work!

Anyway, to quote a heartfelt post from our journalist friend and long-time supporter Neil Cooper from earlier today:”Henry’s was a very special kind of mess.”

Thanks everyone, and watch this space if you want to hear more…


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