So, having declared a moratorium on new bars down Lark Lane our beloved council has boldly decided to greenlight, er, another wine bar.
I’ve mused before, elsewhere, on the character of Lark Lane and how its changed as the years have rolled by.
That cumulative impact assessment seemed to recognise that the advance of drinking establishments on Lark Lane had been to the detriment of the place.
But the council’s argument will be that properties may as well be used than stand derelict, especially during difficult times.
I find this a bit of a self-fulfilling argument. No-one’s going to head to Lark Lane for a pleasant browse around the shops if they have to fight their way through the overflowing bins, pissed-up nutters or pools of vomit on a Sunday afternoon.
So the shops struggle, and slowly fade away, and less people come to Lark Lane to shop, and businesses close, and buildings stand empty.
Anyway, the venue in question is the former greengrocer’s on the corner of Lark Lane and Waverley Road, Cabbages and Kings. As a business it always seemed rather chaotic, but I was glad it was there.
I once dropped a sweet jar full of chocolate raisins on the floor there and stood, bemused, as no less than three members of staff conducted what I could only describe as a massive freak-out. I put a fiver down on the counter and backed out, cartoon-style.
I liked the fact that Lark Lane used to be fairly hopeless like that. Over the last couple of years I’ve backed away from drunken on a Saturday night than hapless grocers much more frequently.
To suggest that the effect on the Lane of the explosion of bars has not been significant and unfortunate is simply untrue. The problem lies not, necessarily, in the bars themselves, but in their frequency.
The road has now become a destination in itself, where people turn up for drinks and stay all night.
Little wonder, with so many places you can now get a drink on the Lane. And whether you enjoy drinking there or not isn’t really the point.
Have a look at the number of licensed establishments currently (or scheduled to open soon) on Lark Lane – a residential street less than a klick in length – and ask yourself whether this can be good for a residential area famed throughout the city for its unique atmosphere and fascinating places to visit.
The Red Fort
Due to (re)open:
Unnamed new bar on site of Cabbages and Kings
• Image by Rob with Twobs via Flickr