Last Days of Shoreditch co-founder on venue’s closure and how Hackney licensing policy will affect future plans

Rob Star in The Star of Bethnal Green. Picture: Alessia Manzoni

Rob Star in The Star of Bethnal Green. Picture: Alessia Manzoni - Credit: Archant

Rob Star started working in the entertainment industry when he wasn’t even legally allowed in clubs.

The co-founder of hipster street food spot Last Days of Shoreditch, which closes for good this weekend, started out organising parties for him and his friends when he was 16.

“I used to go to clubs even before I was allowed to drink,” he says from a table of The Star of Bethnal Green, one of his five pubs in north and east London.

Even though owning a nightclub has always been his dream, he has now found a happy balance between the festival scene and the pub scene.

He is one the organisers of Eastern Electrics, which is now a two-day festival but started as a warehouse party in 2008.

“I like bits of both the scenes. My favourite thing about festivals is being outside, in the nature, listening to good music,” he says. “My favourite thing about the pub is having a nice glass of red and a Sunday roast after a big night out.”

A long-time east London resident, he chose the area for the creative vibe. He says: “The east used to feel like the creative capital of the city, but now it seems that the whole economy of the area is under threat.”

He refers to the new Hackney licencing policy, which will see a midnight weekend curfew for indoor licences in the borough and a 10pm closing time for outdoor activities.

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This move could potentially affect his hopes of reopening Last Days Of Shoreditch elsewhere, after the Red Market site is replaced by a hotel. He feels he will struggle to keep his 11:30pm licence.

“We keep saying we live in a 24 hours city, but now they want to restrict when our nightlife premises are open,” says Rob.

“It’s understandable that a restaurant would close at midnight, but for a pub or a bar to close at midnight, for me it seems ridiculous.”

He fears these restriction will have implications regarding the people who would want to move to London, especially in the east.

“I came here for the nightlife, the cost of living and because there were lots of creative people around here,” he adds.

“That is still is why I like this area, but I think we’re in danger of losing that.

“I believe it’s a backward step – it will end up like one of those cities that don’t have a vibe, a culture.”