Simpson’s Tavern: Crowdfunder to save City favourite passes £30K as local efforts stepped up
A crowdfunding campaign to save the historic Simpson’s Tavern has passed £30,000 in just two days.
Simpson’s, which has sat off Cornhill since 1757 and become a City institution, has been served a winding up petition as a result of rent arrears accrued during the pandemic, announced on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the fundraiser reached £20,000 in less than 24-hours.
Whilst many landlords have chosen to be flexible on recouping rents owed during periods when hospitality businesses were unable to open due to lockdown restrictions.
Benjamin Duggan, the manager at Simpson’s Tavern, told City A.M. that the business was solvent and revenues were up on 2019.
However the landlord’s demand for the rent arrears to be paid immediately, rather than made whole over a “reasonable horizon.” had proved impossible to meet.
City A.M. understands that local politicians in the City of London are now involved in the fight to save one of the Square Mile’s most storied lunchspots.
Deputy Peter Dunphy of Cornhill Ward, a City of London common councilman, is investigating whether the restaurant could be deemed an asset of community value and is also in touch with planning and licensing officers in the Square Mile.
City A.M. has been unable to find a contact address for the landlord, a Bermudan-holding company named Tavor Holdings.
The fundraising campaign was launched on Tuesday after news of the winding up order was announced by the Tavern on Twitter.
So far it has had more than 710 supporters as it passed the £30,000 mark on Thursday afternoon, seven per cent of the target.
The crowdfunding page said it was looking to reach £385,000, and there was 46 days left to reach the target.
Giles Coren, The Times’ respected food critic and television presenter, told City A.M. this morning that it would be a “monstrous, monstrous shame” to lose Simpson’s.
Coren said with “the effect of the pandemic and energy prices wreaking havoc on the entire industry” it was “hard to pick your sob stories” but that Simpson’s remained an icon.
“There are so few places like this left – it’s part of the lifeblood of the City,” he said.
The crowdfunding campaign, Save our Simpson’s, can be found here.