Le Quecum shuts after 19 years saying its rent was to be doubled
Le Quecum Bar only venue in London dedicated to jazz manouche
An “irreplaceable” bar in Battersea has announced it has been forced to close after 19 years due to rising rent and Covid. Le QuecumBar on Battersea High Street claimed it had no option but to shut after its new landlord allegedly “doubled” the rent and decided against renewing the lease.
The iconic bar is thought to be the only venue in London dedicated to jazz manouche – a style of jazz music born in Paris in the 1930s. It has been a lively hotspot for fans of the music from all over the world since opening in Battersea in 2003, offering wine and food and hosting more than 17,500 musicians. But, despite raising £5,708 on Crowdfunder to prevent closure over the Covid pandemic, the bar will now shut its doors for good.
In a message to customers, the venue said it was “the end of an era”. The venue said the building got a new landlord over lockdown who “decided to double our rent” and did not renew the lease, “meaning that Le Quecumbar had no option but to close its doors for the final time a few weeks ago”.
The message adds: “We would like to express our thanks and eternal gratitude to every single person who supported the venue over the years, especially the excellent musicians who performed here and our dedicated patrons from across the world.” It continues: “But all good things must come to an end, and may the spirit of Le Que remain in our hearts.”
Reacting to the announcement on social media, locals called the closure “heartbreaking”. One resident said: “[I] know firsthand that they fought tooth and nail to sustain the venue and regular performing artists through these tough times with crowdfunding and other initiatives.”
Another user said the “unique and beautiful local bistro” was “utterly irreplaceable”. The Thames Variety branch of Equity, the UK trade union for creative workers, tweeted: “Very concerning to see another iconic performance venue being pushed out and having to close its doors.”
Le QuecumBar’s website says: “Many businesses such as ours have gone forever, silently – slipping away without people even noticing, never to return – if you do not support your live music venues they will silently disappear. [Hundreds] have gone already.”
Almost 10,000 licensed premises, including pubs, clubs and restaurants, closed permanently in 2020. Hospitality businesses are still fighting to survive after lockdowns and restrictions, now facing rising costs, reduced visitor numbers and staff shortages along with debt from the pandemic.
Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter
April 27, 2022