It opened on East London's iconic Brick Lane twenty years ago, but now London's Vibe Bar has closed its doors for the final time last night. In its time it brought big names and new talents alike to its Shoreditch location — Vibe Bar played a huge role in developing nightlife within the area.
Over the last twenty years, Vibe Bar has seen the likes of: Liam Gallagher, Pete Townsend, Madonna, Pete Doherty, Emily Sande and Talvin Singh as well as DJs like Grooverider, Ray Keith, MC Creed, Norris 'Da Boss' Windross and many more.
Vibe Bar has also hosted events such as the launch of Diesel's UK flagship store, The Guardian newspaper party, and even a party political broadcast from the Labour Party. All of this highlights Vibe Bar's role in bringing the latest in art and culture to Shoreditch.
“When we came here it was almost a no-go area,” says Alan Miller, CEO of The Vibe Bar. “Through our endeavours and those of many others, we created a destination hub of creative businesses. Young people, from music, fashion, the arts and business who were ready to do something new in and for London. The result has been incredible.”
Despite having harnessed the creative energy of many innovators and artists, Vibe Bar is forced to close due to the economic strain of licensing and restrictions imposed on them by the police and the local authority. According to the Vibe Bar, night-time economy accounts for over 6% of the UK's total economy and also employs 1.3 million people, which is 10% of the total workforce. Yet licensing and policing has made it harder than ever for these establishments to succeed.
“Across London and the UK, licensing and police are sanctioning and stifling the late-night economy with short-sighted “crime” and “antisocial behaviour” figures – which are usually lost mobile phones when people are tipsy and report them stolen – with risk-averse policing and draconian last-century attitudes,” says Alan Miller.
Being one of the first bars in Shoreditch, Vibe Bar's legacy will surely be remembered as it has harnessed artistic talent and paved the way for the current scene in Shoreditch and East London alike. As CEO Alan Miller puts it, “In the end, this has been an incredible journey.
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