The legendary Hobgoblin in Kentish Town Road, Camden, London, possibly the most famous alternative pub in the area and better known as The Dev from its days as The Devonshire Arms is being marketed by Enterprise Inns. Manager Dylan Cole is appealing to Camden bar owners to get in touch, fearing that he may have to leave the borough altogether.
"We had the tenancy for the last three months while Enterprise Inns were renegotiating things," he said. "And I just expected to get the tender for the lease because we've been very good with paying our rent. Then last week I got an email that just came out of the blue, saying the freehold was being sold. I was a bit stunned shall we say, because it made sense to give it to me."
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Mr Cole said there were now three options for the pub. "“An investor could buy it," he said. "An operator could take charge of it and turn it into yet another one of those trendy Camden wine bars, but in that case good luck – with a view of Sainsbury's car park. Or they might not get what they want for it, in which case no one will have it and I might get it."
He added: "Hopefully, it'll be the third option. If it's either of the other two I'm upping sticks and taking my business elsewhere. We've got very loyal customers, and I've spent the last three years building this business up. I'm not letting my regulars down."
Mr Cole, manager for three years and a drinker in the pub for 15 years, says he has "rescued this pub before, and I'll do it again".
He added: "I want to stay in Camden, but I am worried we'll have to leave the area altogether. I'm asking if there's anyone about with a spare building. We'll decamp lock, stock and barrel. We're that well-known that it'll never be a problem getting the customers there."
A regular drinker, who gave his name as Raw Embrace, 53, said: "This is a safe haven for goths. You won't see any floaty dresses here. It's not tourist trash, it's the real thing.
"I've been drinking here for 10 years, and I've got a message for people – this place has always been here for us."
Another drinker, June Fillier, 28, said: "It's got too many lovers, all over the world. On the louder nights you can find people from everywhere who have come especially. If it doesn't stay in Camden there will be too many angry goths."
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns told The Camden New Journal: "It is our intention to sell it, and we are actively marketing it."
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