July opening for 1,000-capacity rooftop bar

large clothes shop
Sports Direct on Brixton’s Popes Road

Freight, a giant new open-air venue above the Sports Direct shop on Pope’s Road in Brixton is to open on Friday 5 July.

Lambeth council’s licensing sub-committee approved plans for the venue, which will be London’s largest open-air rooftop destination, on 21 May.

The applicant, Field Vision Bars, says its venture will have a capacity of 1,000, up to 200 employees and will involve an investment of £1,600,000.

Planned opening hours are 2–11pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The site, once a car park, previously hosted the bar Brixton Beach.

A new door for the venue will see people visiting Freight leave directly via a former railway arch onto Brixton Station Road which, Field Vision says, will steer them away from the homes of most residents of central Brixton.

The company’s representative at the virtual meeting of the sub-committee said: “I don’t want you to think for one second that this is some sort of pop-up or here today, gone tomorrow kind of scenario.

“Field Vision Bars have signed a 10-year lease with Fraser’s Group [owners of the site]. They very much want to be part of the local economy and to encourage and drive that economy for years to come,” Field Vision’s representative told the sub-committee.

Local residents and local MP Helen Hayes, on their behalf, objected to the application on the grounds of noise – some homes are only a few metres from the proposed venue – and a possible increase in anti-social behaviour.

However, after lengthy consideration, sub-committee chair Linda Bray said: “We’ve given very careful consideration to this application, and we have decided to allow it.

“We very carefully considered objections from residents and conditions which had been proposed by them in order to limit possible noise nuisance, for example any conditions regarding temporary events, but we felt that to do that would be beyond our power as a licensing sub-committee.”

Plans for the venue would appear to spell the end of Hondo Enterprises’ ambition to build a 20-storey tower on the site – which has always belonged to the Sports Direct empire of Mike Ashley.

CGI of large venue
Computer-generated image of Freight supplied by Field Vision

Freight Brixton said today (6 June) that it will “celebrate community, culture and music in the heart of South London”.

It will “bring together an incredibly talented group of people in one creative place – featuring London’s finest chefs, passionate winemakers, emerging music talent, and a broad programme of cultural events.”

Chef residencies are promised from Robin Gill, proprietor of Bottle & Rye in Brixton’s Market Row, Rice Paddy, Darby’s, Breddos Tacos, and Ruben’s Reubens.

Freight Brixton will also present a “Festival of Football” for the 2024 Euros.

The venue “will host a diverse programme, including live performances and DJ sets, as well as giving local and emerging artists a platform to connect with the community. Carefully curated to cultivate the ultimate weekend destination, Freight Brixton will offer everything from themed brunches to football screenings, and live jazz nights to night markets and local collective showcases.”

Street food traders will be on seasonal rotation, along with three bars, Freight said, “the venue is a one-stop shop for local and visiting revellers to drink, dance and dine”.

Two of the bars will be devoted to cocktails: Hotel Campari, an “aperitivo bar”, will offer classic negronis, chocolate negronis, and limoncello spritz. House of Friends tequila bar, by tequila brand Casamigos, will have “a line-up of signature paloma drinks, frozen margaritas, and a special frozen strawberry and watermelon paloma”.

Brixton Brewery will serve its locally crafted beers, with special events including dinners, beer tastings and limited edition brews.

Freight Brixton will team up with Sergio Verillo from Battersea’s urban winery Blackbook, where all the grapes are sourced within hours of the city and bottled by hand. Sergio will combine his love of wine, art and music to host tastings and collaboration dinners with London’s best chefs.

“Beyond an entertainment venue, Freight Brixton will be a celebration of community,” it said,

“Committed to honouring the vibrant spirit of Brixton, the team are extending a warm invitation to local initiatives, from dance classes to youth charities, and anything in between. 

Email nyle.lowe@freightisland.com if you would like to get involved with the space.

You can sign up now for priority access when bookings open at freightbrixton.com

Instagram: @freightbrixton


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