This story got me thinking:
Ed Sheeran has got his neighbours choking on their chorizos – with plans to turn a much-loved Spanish restaurant into a music bar.
The star bought the Galicia tapas bar in London’s swish Portobello Road for £1.5million last year.
The 28-year-old, who lives nearby, reportedly wants to transform it into a live music venue with a ‘members’ club vibe’. But residents who described Galicia as ‘one of the last authentic Spanish restaurants in London’ spoke of their dismay yesterday at finding out its new owner is one of the world’s biggest pop stars.
There are all sorts of issues to be addressed here.
I think we’ve all asked the question, “What happened to that cool place where we used to go..?” (the typical answer being, of course, that if you’d gone there more often, the place wouldn’t have disappeared). I have no idea whether the Galicia fell into this category, but I suspect it might have. After all, Spanish food is pretty much an exotic cuisine in London, and people will not go there all that often (much as, say, Murkins don’t often visit Greek restaurants Over Here unless they’re of Greek origin or if they, like myself, love Greek food). Clearly, the owners of the Galicia either wanted to sell the place for personal reasons or had to sell it because they weren’t making money off the place.
The second issue is that of course, if you buy a piece of property, you’re quite within your rights to change it (subject to the usual restraints, of course), and pop star Sheeran wants to create a private drinking club for himself and, probably, his buddies — which makes nonsense of this wail from a local:
‘If it turns into a members’ club where they charge £3,000-4,000 a month to join, nobody from around here will go.’
Hate to break it to you, you idiot, but you’re probably not welcome there anyway. Sheeran doesn’t need the money from the subs: it’s a means to keep the local riff-raff out, much as the restaurant in L.A. that used to sell $100 burgers and was frequented mostly by celebrities who welcomed the privacy those prices afforded them.
No, I can’t say I have too much sympathy for the complainers here. If Galicia was indeed “one of the last authentic Spanish restaurants in London”, it doesn’t say much for the popularity of Spanish food there, does it? (You only have to go to southern Spain, where Brits go to avoid the crappy London weather, to see the truth of this. Almost all the restaurants and bars offer “Full English Breakfast!”, “Fish & Chips!” and “English Bitter Ale!” — Spanish food clearly doesn’t satisfy the visitors.)
The only thing that mystifies me about all this is how the reedy-voiced Sheeran managed to amass an £80-million fortune.