Upstairs At The Department Store (restaurant)

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by ringo, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    It's not "spittle flecked invective" - grow up, for fuck's sake - but I make no apology at being angry with greedy developers and their partners who are raking in fat profits while destroying communities and creating a housing crisis in London.

    It's notable that you haven't a harsh word to say about them is this thread, but plenty of time for childish personal attacks on me. And that would appear to sum up your attitude, like the topic isn't important and it's all a bit of a laugh.
  2. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    This is my problem with posts here.

    Told not to criticize Squires as they are just hired hands. The system isn't there fault. And they are doing charitable works.

    Then the discussion possibly slips into can't blame property developers either.

    I have real problem with this line of argument.
    editor likes this.
  3. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    The same handful of people seem to think having a pop at me is the main priority here, rather than criticising the profiteering firms who are causing real misery to poorer communities and depriving Londoners of affordable homes.

    I fancy that rather speaks volumes about the kind of people they are. :(
    wurlycurly likes this.
  4. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Looks like some posters here agree that property developers who leave property empty , as at LJ, should have it confiscated by the government.

    If you are saying that it's not property developers fault, but they work within limits set by government, would you support this measure?

    Myself I can't see any property developers support this if a government brought it in as a law. They are likely to heavily lobby government to stop this being brought in.
  5. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Martin Wolf does not believe in nationalisation.
    He believe it leads to inefficiency and poor service.
    I don't necessarily agree - French Railways SNCF always seemed pretty good to me - and cheaper than here lately.

    The nationalisation issue and the public housing issue seems to be similar to me. Under post-Thatcher economics (including Blair/Brown) it is taken as an article of faith that public sector debt has to be reduced - and private sector debt is irrelevant.

    Funnily enough I am old enough to remember that the LCC and Liverpool Council both had large bonds on the stock market originally issued in the 1920s to finance the building of municipal housing. Why can't we do this now?
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
    Gramsci likes this.
  6. tripadvisah

    tripadvisah Banned Banned

    no. thats not the issue. You’re telling me what my priorities should be? And then saying that this says a lot about the kind of people we are?

    What people are having a pop at is all the overblown (and misdirected) dialog that these people are to blame for depriving lower income families out their homes in london.

    You are very selective in what you read and replay from peoples posts. And then follow up with veiled and sometimes not so veiled insults about ‘the people’ rather than the arguments.

    If we are to have a discusion, then my view as stated above and also what may or may not be the view of some others is that it is the government’s role to provide social housing for the people who need them. Because labour AND conservative governments have failed to do so they put in place vague policies around developers having to provide a proportion of affordable housing. Which clearly doesn’t work. And that is not the fault of squire etc, they are running their business, doing some of that and also taking on contracts that they need to do to survive. I very much doubt there are meetings in boardrooms where they are saying ‘who gives a fuck about poor Londoners’. It is not their role to ensure this stuff happens. If the current system is attempting to put some of the onus on developers then I think we all agree it isn’t working. and that has fuck all to do with a restaurant. the patrons of whom are very unlikely to be ‘super rich’ (another misdirection, suspect most just have ‘some disposable income’)

    I cannot easily influence current policy, but I would pay an extra penny a pound in income tax if the government ACTUALLY ringfenced it for social provision and made a real difference. but I don’t trust the fuckers. And I wouldn’t trust labour eiher.

    And saying, as was said above, if they’re not part of the solution theyre part of the problem does not hold that well. Just because a phrase is catchy doesn’t mean it is true. I believe it was a phrase coined to get people thinking about sustainability in the 90s. If you don’t work in or donate to a food bank, are you an intrinsic part of the problem that means people can’t afford to eat? No. not imo anyway, you may disagree. That’s ok.

    Saying ‘these people consort with greedy offshore developers who are only interested in lining their pockets are you ok with that?’ is not an argument it’s a linguistic fallacy, it’s utterly deceptive and it shuts down sensible and reasoned debate. It’s also inflammatory.

    here is an exceptionally good way of having reasoned debate which we might all learn something from.

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
    alcopop likes this.
  7. alcopop

    alcopop Banned Banned

    I don’t have a problem with Squires at all.
    Why would I?
  8. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    In boardrooms these things are said. Not in public. It slips out occasionally.

    Architect blasts 'free-riding' central London council tenants saying they should be moved

    I don't think extra money is needed. Millions were spent on the banks to prop them up with quantitative easing. John McDonnell has previously called for a People's Quantitative easing instead. Which can be used to build housing.

    I think I have made my position clear previously. To reiterate. I don't like living in a society that has turned the clock back to the days of when the Tate family were building libraries. Back to the days philanthropy.

    I also think that just blaming government for not building affordable housing isn't enough. Developers and big architectural firms have done quite nicely with how the housing and regeneration sector works. I really don't think they would be happy at the thought of a government interfering in the housing market. Like I said this wouldn't put architects like Squires out if business. It may mean they might have to live more modestly.

    Take affordable housing on large developments. These policies are in place. Developers argue tooth and nail against them. The Mayor Khan has only got 35% affordable in practice. That is if his new system works.

    What is needed is more economic interference in the "free market". It's imo naive to think that government could just build mass social housing without this really annoying the private sector. It's direct competition. It's also breaking the neo liberal consensus. It's why Thatcher was right , in terms of her own class, to start to get rid of social housing. This has led to the situation today where property developers call the shots. It would not have turned out like this if social housing hadn't been attacked and marginalised over the years. In late 70s 40% of population lived in social housing. What I'm saying is that in housing one cannot draw strict distinction between private and public housing.
    editor likes this.
  9. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I never went. Just got this email. I'm sure it's well worth £240 just walk in the door :eek::D:D


    Thank you for supporting Upstairs during our first year,
    we hope you have enjoyed your time on the roof thus far!

    As founder members you are important to us, and we want to ensure we always provide you with the best service possible. Due to increased demand on the space and the subsequent expansion to service and amenities, we will be introducing a yearly membership fee.

    The membership fee is £240 a year and must be paid by Direct Debit before 1st November 2018. We also have a monthly installment option of £23 available if you wish.

    Our current free Guest Cards will be expiring 1st November 2018, after which you will not be able to gain access unless you decide to obtain a membership card.

    For this fee you will see an increase in our events programme and membership offerings, a continuation of our sophisticated service and an assurance that we are always able to provide the relaxed and uncrowded atmosphere you are accustomed to Upstairs.

    As our founding members you are first to have this opportunity and are guaranteed a card providing your payment is received prior to 1st November. Obtaining a membership card is simple, just choose one of the following options below.
    Gramsci likes this.
  10. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    £240 a year just to enter the fucking place? At least we can see their true, elitist, gentrifying colours here as they ensure their private members club keeps poor people away.
    Gramsci likes this.
  11. whatwilldid

    whatwilldid Member


    I've been to Upstairs a fair few times. It's fine. It's a really nice space, drinks are priced sensibly considering what you tend to spend for somewhere with design aesthetic at its heart, the staff are incredibly sweet and kind, and the food is totally delicious and varied, and today include a good few vegan choices. It is a members space for an architecural firm that decided to move to Brixton instead of King's Cross, and boy, are we fuming about that on here! I got membership this past year by virtue of knowing someone that works there, but it's never seemed to me to be difficult in this period to gain membership. In terms of the future (read "£240 a year just to enter the fucking place") I earn under £30,000 per year so a private members bar isn't really my thing no matter what, but £23 per month for access to a really nice space that serves great cocktails and food doesn't seem absurd - it's going to be a matter of personal preference. If you go twice a week, that's £2.88 per visit for access to an open space, staffed by good people, with activities and entertainment laid on. By way of reference, my drinking preferences in Brixton are the Marquis of Lorne and the Effra Tavern - both places where a pint costs as much as it does Upstairs.

    I think it's bizarre the extent to which there is SUCH a degree of anger and resentment directed towards The Department Store. There is so much to be said for the manner in which big capital can subvert communities, but I feel like most of the vitriol against Squires and the Department Store is just that, vitriol. Where's the nuance and the reasoned discussion? Have the people who have serious concerns about "true, elitist, gentrifying colours" of the Department Store ever actually been? Would they like an invitation? I'd be only too happy to oblige.
    Spymaster and alcopop like this.
  12. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    no, I haven't been in and wouldn't enter even if I could afford the mere 2.88 twice a week. hth
    Gramsci and editor like this.
  13. whatwilldid

    whatwilldid Member

    That's fine, you don't have to. Thanks for the help.
  14. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    What activities and entertainment are laid on and why is it any better than the free entertainment found all over Brixton?
    Do you think demanding £240 just to enter the bar will exclude people or not?
    Do you think an expensive private members bar opening in a predominately poor area is a good thing or a bad thing for community cohesion?
    You say its 'staffed by good people' as if that's some kind of unexpected bonus. So what bars in Brixton are staffed by bad people?

    And yes, this bar is all about exclusively, division and the exclusion of poor people. Feel free to defend that.
    Miss-Shelf and Gramsci like this.
  15. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    I'd rather they wouldn't tbh.
    Gramsci likes this.
  16. whatwilldid

    whatwilldid Member

    1) They have table football, table tennis, live music and quite a few events in the space downstairs (although membership Upstairs isn't required for access to the events downstairs - that depends on the event organisers). Pool in the Marquis of Lorne is a £1 a go. Music in the Effra Tavern is free (and outstanding). I never said it was better than any free entertainment found all over Brixton. I said it was a matter of personal preference.
    2) I think asking for £240 for membership will exlude people who don't want to or can't spend £240 - myself included. But that's their perogative, what with them managing a private members restaurant, and all. Most members bars charge significantly more than £240, so to some, depending on their frame of reference, it's actually fairly inclusive as far as a PRIVATE MEMBERS space is concerned. I said it was a matter of personal preference.
    3) I think it depends on what the private members bar does in the predominantly poor area to try to improve community cohesion. If Squires and Upstairs do nothing (bear in mind they haven't charged a penny for membership yet), then I will feel very comfortable criticising them for that. Will you feel comfortable praising their actions if they do some good in the local area, I wonder? Or will it just be crumbs off the table, again?
    4) You've inferred that me saying it was staffed by good people meant something other than precisely what I said. Why are you trying to coax me into telling you what bars I think are staffed by bad people in Brixton? What the actual fuck is that?

    Finally, yeah, it kind of is about exclusivity. It's a PRIVATE MEMBERS restaurant/bar, which is available to the public at a fee. The public can determine in their own good ways, whether or not they think it represents value for money, or whether they want to be a part of it. I wish that the space had been turned into affordable housing and community projects for the people that need it the most in Brixton. But it wasn't. And it was lying empty for a very long time. There are now, as a result of Squires, a few more hundred people working in Brixton, spending their money. I don't believe in trickle down economics, and so I accept that the poor won't directly benefit from that, but I am 100% sure that a space occupied by a profitable business that attracts money is a better thing for a community than having a massive building with nothing in it but potential.
    alcopop, teuchter and Spymaster like this.
  17. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    1. So the private club offers nothing that isn't available for free elsewhere apart from exclusivity, luxury surroundings and a removal of the riff raff. You specifically mentioned the entertainment in the members-only private bar as some sort of justification for the hefty joining fee, so I'll ask again: what entertainment?
    2. if you knew anything about the demographics of the area, you'd know that a £240 entrance free will directly exclude the majority of existing residents. Don't they matter to you?
    3. Tell me how an exclusive and elitist private club does anything for the vast majority of locals who are automatically excluded from entering?
    4. You brought up the 'good people' line like it was especially noteworthy. It's not. There's plenty of good people working all around Brixton.
  18. whatwilldid

    whatwilldid Member

    All I've said, and said multiple times and I think quite clearly is that it's up to individuals to determine whether or not they want to take part in a private members club. My belief is that in the context of a private members club, a £240 members fee isn't that much - I accept that it is TOO MUCH for many residents, but then as far as I'm aware, this is the only private members bar/restaurant available in Brixton for all of its roughly 78,000 inhabitants. Assuming £23 is too much money for 99.5% of the population (which is a massive assumption), do we begrudge 400 people for spending their money on a swanky venue if they want to? I have also said that I wished the space had been used for more community focussed activities, but it hasn't, and I've also expressed the point that if Squires and Upstairs never do anything for the betterment of their locality, then I will carry criticism against them.

    I appreciate that I'm repeating myself, but it seems that I need to.

    You ask me to tell you "how an exclusive and elitist private club does anything for the vast majority of locals who are automatically excluded from entering" - why do I need to tell you that? What part of my original post suggested that I would have any interest in telling you that? My point was, and again, I'm aware that I'm repeating myself, that a private members club on top of Squire and Cos building has every legal right to exist and the moral or ethical arguments against it from existing that have been elicited in this thread are paper-thin at best. We live in a world of inequality which favours the wealthy over the poor, and that is painful. No doubt. But why the fresh fuck your ire is so vehemently expressed against an establishment like this, at such an early stage of its lifecycle, rather than, oh, I don't know, the betting shops and fast food chains that deliberately target the vulnerable to keep them poor and unhealthy is beyond me. It's wasted breath.

    But given that your account (and I accept there may be multiple people using your account) is responsible for 190,000 posts since the year 2000, which, assuming you spend around a minute per post means you've been fighting the good fight from behind your keyboard for a solid 1340 days, or THREE AND A HALF YEARS, I accept that I have insufficient capital with you to have a reasoned debate. I get the impression that you're very used to changing the goal-posts during a discussion, and fair play - get your kicks where you can.

    My offer still stands to go for a drink at Upstairs to check it out for yourself, to meet me and have what I hope would be a really good discussion about what we might practically be able to do to help people that need help in Brixton. I'd also be really interested to learn from you about your sources regarding the demographics of the area - you're right, I don't know much about the demography of Brixton, and I'd like to learn. Maybe we could move this away from the keyboard and do something worthwhile? Or that might not be your bag.
    mjd, alcopop and Spymaster like this.
  19. Mr Bim of Bar

    Mr Bim of Bar Well-Known Member

    I went for a nose at these apartments on 17th sept They are high end Art Deco apartments absolutely beautiful, and a two bed is £720,000 and service is £3600
  20. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Service charge is a bit steep. Do they starch your sheets for that?
  21. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    As someone who earns much less than thirty grand I do think £240 pound a year just to go on the roof is elitist.

    Squires are a business that moved to Brixton. Fair enough. They didn't do it quietly. They made big thing about it.

    I did hear guest memberships for roof terrace were given out to some local people. Not sure if this is correct.

    Seems to me Squires did a good PR campaign when they came to Brixton. They aren't stupid. They know from long involvement with high end projects in London that gentrification is an issue. So when they came to Brixton they have been quite clever.

    I was at Department store when it opened as it had Brixton Neighborhood forum meeting there.

    At that Squires junior gave talk of how community minded Squires are.

    As you say guest memberships were at start fairly easy to come by. This was imo no accident. Squires did this at beginning to get good community PR.

    I ve heard using the basement space is now pricey for community groups. Vida Walsh is cheaper. So that's gone.

    Imo what Squires have done is clever. Making all right noises and then gradually bringing in extra costs. Which will make the space exclusive.

    Squires are private business so its up to them what they do with the property they own. That is how Capitalism works.

    They aren't doing local community a favour by coming here. It was them bigging up arrival to Brixton.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
    littleseb, Miss-Shelf, Crispy and 2 others like this.
  22. Mr Bim of Bar

    Mr Bim of Bar Well-Known Member

    Lol the building and interior is stunning and only four apartments available now
  23. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    And this is what's known as an ad hominem. How many posts I've made here - or when I started posting - is utterly irrelevant to the point under discussion.
    It's also a ludicrous assumption. To enjoy the facilities of the new elitist bar, people have to find at least £240 a year just to get through the door. You do understand that large parts of Brixton are some of the most deprived in London? £240 is a fortune to those people.
    I don't begrudge people spending money on whatever they like, but to pretend that opening a swishy, exclusive private members bar for the elite isn't going to have the slightest impact on gentrifying the area would be very naive indeed. Here, have a read: Gentrification isn't a benign process: it forces people from their homes

    I don't view gentrification as a good thing. Nor do I applaud businesses that accelerate that process. Do you?
    And another ad hominem. Actually I do shitloads for Brixton. Businesses, bars, restaurants and individuals have all expressed their gratitude, as do the local charities and campaigns I've raised thousands of pounds for. How about you?

    Oh and you never explained what this entertainment is that's supposedly on offer in the bar...
    Miss-Shelf and Gramsci like this.
  24. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Deleted as difficult to use quotes didn't work.
  25. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Their PR campaign was perfectly planned and executed, just as you might expect from a modern, social media savvy multi-million company. Essentially bribing the reggae store into their building was fantastic PR.
    Gramsci likes this.
  26. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    You have made comments about big capital.

    If a left wing government came to power and decided to expropriate Squires family of the department store, to turn it into community space for people that need it, you would not have a problem with Squires family losing it?
  27. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Ive seen Squires in action. Very suave and clever.
  28. 3Zeros

    3Zeros Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why it's so difficult for some people to comprehend that something like the opening of a private members club might attract opposition not only because it's a prime example of gentrification, but also because it's happening in the context of a wider gentrification process. And that the wider gentrification process is happening in the wider context of austerity.

    Rather than writing lengthy posts in support of Squires & Partners, who are quite literally the architects of the gentrification of that section of Brixton, why not spend that time researching some of the issues around gentrification, housing & poverty?
  29. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    You've absolutely nailed it there.
  30. alcopop

    alcopop Banned Banned

    It attracts minimal opposition tbh.

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