Rage of the red lanterns

La Lanterna, the Brockley Road restaurant whose renovation stalled over a year ago, cutting a sorry dash on the high street ever since, is not on the market, despite its owners Biagio putting four of their other restaurants up for sale.

Property agents Restaurant Property confirm that it is not currently for sale. Expect it to sit there brooding for a good deal longer.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the owners for an update here? Would be good to have a good quality Italian restaurant in Brockley !

Anonymous said...

There were three men fussing over the frontage recently. That is all.

Brockley Nick said...

@ first anon - yes, I emailed a while ago, asking for an update. No answer.

Ian on the HIll said...

Yes, we've never had one of those.

fatyfaty said...

Oh dear, I wish they would sell up quick and let someone interested in the site take over. Such ridiculous waste of manpower that redevelopment was.

Anonymous said...

i spoke to them a moment ago funnily enough and they hope to be open before christmas. i think there'll be queues at the door!

Anonymous said...

It looks terrible out the front at the moment! I hope they are going to make a pretty drastic change!!

Andy said...

Maybe someoneone should put them in contact with Domino's...

In all seriousness though, this probably would be a more suitable venue and wouldn't involve putting bright backlit signs on the Old Bank. Everyone's a winner.

Anonymous said...

No, the high street is already rubbish enough, we need something good here to start off things !

Tim said...

I had to smile to myself when I realised that a Dominos would actually improve that row of shops!

Mondee said...

It's a shame they're not selling. It could be a great spot but I'd be surprised if it miraculously turns into a good restaurant while under the same ownership. The food there was distinctly sub standard. I only went there because there were so few other options locally: that is no longer the case.

Anonymous said...

I do wish they'd sell up and let someone else try their luck on that site, it is a complete eyesore.

Anonymous said...

No sure they will ever manage to sell a restaurant with the Hotel above...

I may be wrong, but the guy keeps saying he wants to open. He never does, so I would not hold my breath for a Christmas opening.

If you want a new restaurant, I think the best bet is to convince the Barge to refurbish and change menu.

NAT said...

Doesn't the Barge's menu come from 'menu central' in the Wetherspoon orginization?

I've never seen one that varies much.

Maybe in Wales once there was some mention of Welsh beef.

Aricana said...

Good grief!

@ Brockley Nick - please share news of Brockley's new and exciting developments. Fingers crossed this isn't one of them.

Cat Amongst Pigeons said...

Q. Is the wetherspoon ownership of the Barge coupled with lack of competing pubs in the near vicinity, holding back the gentrification of Brockley? And..

Is that a good or a bad thing?

Discuss..

patrick1971 said...

It's hard to remember now, but there's a good case for saying that the Barge actually kick-started the gentrification of Brockley. Back in 1996/97, that site was boarded up and derelict, the Breakspears Arms having been closed by police, I believe, due to drug dealing.

The only nice, "destination" place in Brockley at that time was Mr Lawrence's. The Brockley Jack was an all right place for a couple of drinks but nothing special. When Wetherspoon's took on the Breakspears Arms, it showed that a big company wanted to invest in the area and gave a bit of confidence. Degustation, The Orchard, Toad's Mouth, the Talbot, etc. followed in its wake.

You may not think much of the Barge now, but it's a lot better than what was there before and its opening paved the way for new ventures.

BrockleyCross said...

I completely agree. The opening of the Barge was the start of things turning round in Brockley. You wouldn't believe now how excited we were then just at the idea there might be somewhere to go. Before the Barge, unless a train had just come in, there was no-one around after dark and Brockley felt like a different place. It's a shame Wetherspoons never maintain their pubs properly, but I, for one, will always be grateful they took the plunge and opened here, removing what was a very visible tribute to Brockley's shady side in the form of the boarded up Breakspears.

Anonymous said...

I like the Barge as it is. Firstly, as others have said, because we have a lot to be thankful for in terms of its history, and secondly because it's a good pub, good prices, no loud music (thank god!), a great cross-section of the community and a really nice vibe in there.
I've been in there on Friday or Saturday nights til late, and it's well-run, with a chilled atmosphere and everyone's nice.
All you snobs who want to see Brockley Rd turned into Lordship Lane, and the Barge turn into some £15-a-plate gastrodome, can content yourselves with the Orchard and the Talbot - or get the bus to East Dulwich!!

Anonymous said...

It may have ignited the regeneration of the area, but the pub really is in dire need of a makeover - mainly because it's right in the centre of Brockley... until then I won't be going ...

fattyfatty said...

La Lanterna looks like one of those awful Italian places on Leicester Square.

We need something more like La Querce in that unit - somewhere that actually sells nice food in a pleasant environment with good service and sensible pricing.

Are they serious about a hotel in that building given the awful location and the fact that its about the size of 2 flats? They sound a bit clueless to me tbh.

drakefell debaser said...

Anon 09:46...I dislike Wetherspoon pubs and the Barge by default. The selection of ale is usually good but I find that the food is diabolical and they are all look the same to me. A bit like having a pint in a MacDonald’s or a Burger King as there is no individuality. I do however respect the fact others have a different opinion to me..

Tamsin said...

Agreed - de gustibus and all that - but what is useful with Wetherspoons is that in an alien town you know what to expect - a good selection of beer, adequate food which is reasonably priced, and no music. Convenient if time is tight and you've no other indicators.

Ben said...

The Barge is always busy so obviously serves a purpose for the masses of people that eat and drink there. I don't but that's just my personal preference. Either way it’s better than the crack house before.

But a nice large pub in the centre of Brockley serving "gastro" type food with plenty of space to veg out on a weekend day (the Orchard is always rammed) would be nice! Unless someone builds a pub from scratch somewhere in Brockley Cross this isn’t going to happen.

Tressilliana said...

La Lanterna was quite a decent Italian restaurant many years ago before it was sold to Biagio.

Mr Lawrence opened in 1992. Prior to that the only place to eat/drink in the north end of Crofton Park was the Alpha Club, where Jam Circus is now. It had a bit of a dodgy reputation, deservedly or not.

Anonymous said...

Nice Green Lantern reference there :)

aunty kate said...

The Alpha club hosted a murder, I seem to remember. And so shares this dubious honour with Duke's Night Store. All the other murders have been in residential areas I think.

Anonymous said...

@aunty kate
Not to cast aspersions on Duke's Night Store at the time of the midday assassination in 1999 - it was the home of Big Ballers ticket agency, and before that a (very useful) motor and bike spares shop. Duke's used to be in what is now the Tea Factory.

Anonymous said...

I don't eat at the Barge, but then, it's a pub. Its primary function is not the provision of food.

Is there any chance we could persuade Le Querce to take over La Lanterna? That would be just about the most awesome thing to happen to that section of Brockley Road EVER.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon12:21 - glad someone appreciated it

Jamie said...

+10 Geek love for the title.

Anonymous said...

The ticket agency, where Dukes is now was a front for a gang that controlled the security at music clubs and events. They had business rivals with guns.

The Alpha club, now the Jam Circus was also hang out for gangsters and the scene of violence that led to its closure.

The Breakspears Arms, now the Brockley Barge was a centre for drug dealing. You had to walk a gauntlet of dodgy dealers and addicts as you left the station and there were frequent muggings.

Brockley station was robbed at gun point three times and for a time had security staff on duty.

Brockley has its shady side, it is the home of some criminals and murders happen when they start feuding.

Some, I guess, are sentimental about this and the 'good old days' when local pubs were the preserve of a fraternity of assorted villains and dodgy geezers who exploited the community they lived in.

Gastro pubs and delicatessens do not seem half so bad in comparison.

A decent Italian restaurant, as we had at the site of La Lanterna in the past, would do well around here.

David said...

I think the thing to remember here - and indeed the thing to remember with a lot of these debates on Brockley Central - is that Brockley is a diverse area; that's one of the charms.

I moved here in 2001 and was visiting regularly from about 1997. I used to love La Lanterna when it was one of the few places to get something to eat. I also remember the Barge opening and being pleased that there was a half-decent pub in the area. It still clearly serves a purpose as its always full, as indeed Wetherspoons usually are. They have a centralised menu and procurement policy, hence why they're so cheap, and so won't be offering anything different soon (although it could probably do with a lick of paint). Not everyone in Brockley can afford £4 a pint.

Personally, I think the Barge is okay for a swift pint, but would never eat there, but that's okay because there's lots of other places to go.

I like Brockley the way it is. I like the fact I get my car fixed in Brockley Park Cars by the station, catch some random music and have a pint with some local characters in the Wickham Arms (well up until yesterday anyway) or go to Mr Lawrence's or Jam Circus for something different, eat in Meze Mangel or the Orchard or Babur.

To whoever suggested La Querce moves to Brockley Cross, why not just go down the other end of Brockley and support it where it is?

pip said...

The Barge is OK. My dad (mid-60s, likes a good pint) always heads there when he visits from the Frozen North, and takes his ipad with him to take advantage of the free wi-fi. It's not my venue of choice, but it has three major assets that set it apart from other local places: space, quiet, and reasonable prices for what's on offer.

aunty kate said...

@ anon 12.59
You are right. Thanks for corrections.
@ anon 17.52
I too remember the horrible Brakespears Arms, horrible when open and serving, and pretty horrible boarded up for years. When Wetherspoons offered to invest and open a pub it felt like the fairy godmother had come to visit. Toads Mouth seemed like manna from heaven then - although La Lanterna was always there for a treat. What a long journey into the sunlight Brockley has made over the years.

Anonymous said...

Another Hair Salon ?

Anonymous said...

@Ben - The Barge is a business that is missing a big opportunity, it is never that busy. If they refurbish and cook some decent food their business would improrve drastically. Local punters would still go there, as long as ale remains at low prices.

Biagio would be interested in selling, unfortunately I believe nobody is interested at the price he has in his mind. They have stopped building the extension at the back. Do they have again problems with the Council? An official was there with Biagio few weeks ago..

Anonymous said...

I've had nothing but good, honest fare from the Barge

Anonymous said...

Erm, the Barge is always pretty busy when I've been in there! (Evenings and weekends). There are also usually old boys waiting outside at opening time, to get their breakfast. They're not missing a business opportunity, they know their market very well and there's plenty of them around!

Re: Lanterna - the food quality used to be much better, when I first moved to Brockley about 6 years ago it was a nice place to go for a relaxed meal. The quality went significantly downhill in the last 6-12 months of its existence, the famed example being tinned mushrooms on a pizza and the chef threatening the customer who complained ...

Anonymous said...

If The Orchard can be such a success, I am sure a decent Italian could tap into the same market.

Martin Brydon of Catford said...
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