In yet another blow to King’s venues, King’s College London’s infamous Philosophy Bar is likely to shut down. It is still unclear as to whether this decision is temporary or permanent.
Located inside the Norfolk Building on Strand Campus, Philosophy Bar has remained a favourite for students at King’s for several years. It has been a go-to space for students to unwind after classes as well as a popular venue for several society events and socials.
This is not the first instance Philosophy Bar has been scheduled to shut. In 2016, the bar, then known as the Sports and Social Club Bar was set to close after an alleged brawl, involving an attack on students and bar staff. However, this time a closure is far more likely, a major reason being COVID-19. An anonymous source from KCLSU also told Roar that the Bar had been running a loss, which further necessitated this decision being taken.
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Dear Philosophy Bar Family, Today we received the heartbreaking communication that Philosophy Bar will NOT re-open this upcoming September. We don't know if this will be a permanent solution or just temporary, due to Covid-19, for the next academic year. Nevertheless, even though this might represent an "end of an era" for some of you, we hope that the memories, the people, and the amazing selection of alcohol found within this emblematic space will be cherished by all. A special "thank you" goes to Roberto, as he managed to put together this amazing venue, characterised by wonderful and charismatic individuals. With this being said, we will miss you all – but, hopefully we will see you soon! Lots of love, The Philosophy Bar Team
Students are understandably disheartened and reminiscent about Philosophy Bar’s closure. Marino, Comment Editor for Roar said: “Phil Bar has never won awards for being the cheapest place to get a drink, but it has a special place on campus. That cramped little sports-bar-that-isn’t-a-sports-bar will be missed.”
In a similar vein, a Classics student told Roar: “I desperately hope it finds a way to come back, I can’t think of anywhere else at uni I’d rather to go and have a pint after a particularly difficult lecture or seminar. If I’m honest, it’s exactly what I was hoping for from a uni bar and I think it’s one of KCL’s hidden gems – it’ll be a real shame to lose it.”
Another King’s student reminisced about the uniqueness of Philosophy Bar, saying that “It is an oasis of dimly lit academic throwback in the midst of an increasingly soulless campus. Its loss will be deeply felt not only by my dear friends and I, but more importantly by the Bob Dylan Doppelgänger who lives there, and I fear what will become of him now. Will he disappear back to a saloon bar in Nashville forever, or will we ever find another cultural home for those who don’t want to have their drinks knocked over by toga-wearing rugby players in Guy’s Bar?”
Nikita, a first-year English student, said: “I have only been to Phil Bar a handful of times, but its atmosphere remains unparalleled – it was so warm and welcoming and made you feel just a little bit better after a long day. Hard to believe it’ll be gone soon.”
To add fuel to the fire, Philosophy Bar is not the only King’s Venue to close this year. Nought, KCLSU’s Zero-Waste Shop at Guy’s Campus, is also scheduled for closure. Nought had only begun operating this academic year and its closure is unwelcome news for all students who were looking to be environmentally conscious shoppers on campus.
Regarding Nought’s closure, Sanju, a first-year Psychology student said: “I think that Nought closing is quite a tragedy, given that it gave us easy access to environmentally friendly options for so many things at reasonable prices as well – it’s a huge loss to the King’s community, and to the planet really.”
These closures were announced in a recent meeting with the KCLSU staff.
Update [02.07.2020 17:30]
The KCLSU has released a statement on the closure of the Philosophy Bar and Nought:
“The Covid-19 situation and current social distancing guidelines means we’ve had to look at how we run our commercial venues and manage our finances. When looking at our financial picture for next year, KCLSU has had to make difficult decisions and prioritise its services to students. As part of this, we have unfortunately taken the decision to permanently close two of our commercial outlets, Nought and Philosophy bar, both of which even before Covid-19 were operating at a loss.
“We know both outlets had loyal followings and we want to thank all our customers and staff for all their support and hard work and dedication in Nought and Philosophy bar over the past few years. We will be sharing some great memories from both outlets in the coming weeks.
“We are committed to providing a fantastic student experience in our remaining outlets and looking forward to seeing everyone back in our spaces once we re-open. We will put in new measures to make sure you and our staff are all safe and can observe social distancing.
“We will have more news about what to expect in term one over the summer, so watch this space and keep an eye on our social media channels and website for ways you can get involved, find support, make connections and have fun through KCLSU in 2020/21.“