Helgi's - a blast from the past
This bar is a true labour of love. We took over in August 2018, with the view to create a space that didn't exist anywhere else in the UK and that reflects our tastes - 60s/70s heavy rock, psychedelia, and the occult & horror, with our heart and soul completely ingrained in the building. The only psychedelic rock bar in this country! We decorated it ourselves from the ground up, most of the music you hear us play is from our own collections, and we curate and book our own events completely according to our taste - we'd never book a band or dj that we didn't believe in. Over the last two years an awesome community of artists, musicians and music lovers has opened up their hearts to our bar and makes up our core audience. To be told time and time again that this is their home and that London was crying out for a bar like this is very humbling - without these people we'd be nothing.
We're 100% indepedent, we're not connected to any brewery or have any investors and we survive purely on our fantastically loyal customers and supporters, word of mouth, and putting on unmissable events in Hackney - the best djs and bands the psych/punk/heavy metal/rock n roll underground has to offer, along with a cinema, regular talks, art events, a monthly market, and our soon to be opened kitchen. We've worked hard to get to the position we're in, but due to the coronavirus outbreak currently crippling our industry and our country, it's now become a very uphill battle.
We wanted to stay open and explored every possible avenue in which we could, but with the health and safety of everyone in mind that works in and enjoys our building, and in solidarity with other venues across town that have chosen to shut doors, we thought it best to close until it is safe to open again.
How covid-19 hit us hard
We voluntarily closed our doors on the 17th of March due to the covid-19 pandemic and directions from the government on the 13th of March to "avoid bars, clubs and restaurants" with no enforced closure. As you can imagine, these directions greatly affected our business - not only were they unclear (pubs can stay open, but don't go to them?), but with no enforced closure they also threw our industry under a bus. With the health of our staff and customers our priority, government directions being insufficient, and after a weekend where a good portion of our customers decided to stay in and start isolating, we had no choice but to close. Many venues across London were already feeling the same, as others also pre-empted the government by closing before anything was enforced. But this left us in a very uncertain position financially.
We want to pay our staff for the shifts they should be working right now, our team is so important to us and it would be devastating to lose them. Bills are also mounting up while we remain closed - even with the bar lying dormant, there are many utilities, bills and invoices that are hard to square up with no money coming in. There are also many essential repairs and improvements that need to be made, and it would be fantastic to get these completed before our reopening.
Just after posting this campaign, we received news that the government were finally announcing the forced closure of bars and restaurants from the 21st March. The government also announced loans for businesses coming soon, but until we see the finer print we are as yet unsure if we meet the criteria, if the terms would be acceptable for us, if the help will be sufficient and when it would be likely to reach our account. And it's still a loan, meaning it would have to be paid back with interest. Every business affected in this industry will be applying, so the ques and wait times are also expected to be lengthy...
with all this uncertainty, this is where you could help
A call to arms!
If you've ever drank, listened, danced, djed, played, or just appreciated anything in our bar, or if you're a far away supporter and we're on your list of places to visit, or if you've never been here and you just like the sound of the place, we'd greatly appreciate your support. Any money donated will go towards giving our staff a wage thus saving their jobs, plus paying any bills that come up, and the general upkeep of the venue. By donating, you are helping us to continue this strange and quirky space in Hackney, and rest assured that when we do open again you are all invited to the best reopening party that we could ever throw here! We've already started planning!
And aside from donations, you can also buy yourself a few things that we'll have for you when we are back open.
pre-buy yourself a pint, get a pass to any one upcoming gig or talk of your choice, or a ticket that gets you in to all of our gigs for 6 months, hire the black room with a drinks discount.. all redeemable when we reopen.
Thanks for your time, your support means the absolute world to us. We hope to see you very soon x