THE original Walkabout pub in London is set to call last drinks. After quenching the thirst of generations of Australasian expats in the capital, the classic Covent Garden Walkie will close its doors permanently on Saturday 30 March.
The iconic watering hole joins a long list of Antipodean venues in London raising their snakebites to customers for the last time. The Redback Tavern called time in February last year, followed by the Billabong bar in Wimbledon and the Finchley Road London outlet of the Walkabout chain.
There was also disappointment for London’s New Zealander and Australian drinkers last month when the flagship Shepherd’s Bush Walkabout was forced to make changes to their Sunday trading hours and conditions of service, following an agreement with Police in the local area.
The Covent Garden Walkabout led the charge of Australasian pubs in the UK, opening first as The Outback and then operating under the now world famous Walkabout brand for 18 years. The Antipodean sports bar concept quickly caught on amongst the expat community who flock to the various Walkies looking for new friends, a familiar smile and a taste of home.
The team from Covent Garden told New Zealand Times it is with great sadness they are closing their doors permanently on 30 March.
“The closure of this venue is due to a refocusing of the Walkabout brand, as we look to refurbish and improve our other sites, thus giving our customers the best possible experience,” they said.
“We thank all of you for your custom and friendship that you have displayed since we first opened our doors here in Covent Garden.”
However, the Covent Garden Walkabout doesn’t intend to leave quietly. They are planning a huge celebration of their 18 years serving thirsty travellers and locals alike. On Saturday 30 March Walkabout will host an ‘End of the World Closing Party’ and have extended the invite to all of their loyal customers.
“We will look to show the rest of the West End (and indeed the World!) exactly what it is that has made this venue so special for nearly two decades, as we tell you to ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ one last time,” said the team from Covent Garden.
The Shepherd’s Bush and Temple Walkabouts will now be the focus of the company’s efforts for the famous brand in London.
For those interested in attending the final party for final pint or Snakie, register on the guest list by emailing your name and those of your group to firstname.lastname@example.org. See their End of the World Closing Down Party on Facebook for more details.