Madame Jojo’s plan in balance
03 March, 2020 — By The Xtra Diary
Madame Jojo’s – set to reopen soon?
THE closure of that famous Soho institution, Madame Jojo’s, was a shot through the heart for the bohemian reputation of the area.
Shut after a licensing furore with Westminster Council in 2014 after a ruck on the street outside, it seemed for a long time that this was just another case of “once our beer was frothy, now it’s frothy coffee…”.
But the reopening of that famous institution is set to come a step closer next week when the planning committee reviews an application for the site to create a new entrance around the corner from its current Walker’s Court front door to Brewer Street.
Following Jojo’s untimely demise, permission was given to redo the Boulevard Theatre inside, create two restaurants, three shops, two nightclubs and six flats. This work has now been completed and the new application will see Madame Jojo’s have a slightly bigger space and new front door and smoking area when it finally reopens as a cabaret club.
Warm, fuzzy memories of happy times spent in Jojo’s come flooding back to Diary; watching Marie Priscilla Presley, Elvis’s other half, do a terribly funny song and dance routine rings a bell, while multiple drag acts with brilliant play on words could always be relied upon to amuse and entertain.
But the plans have not thrilled many who live and work nearby, with some residents and the influential civic group the Soho Society saying reinstalling the original entrance could cause chaos at closing time.
Objections have come from people living nearby, who worry about noise as Jojo’s will operate six days a week until 3.30am, and the Soho Society who say the original plans moved the way in to Walker’s Court to help mitigate noise.
Now the switch back could cause further problems, as Brewer Street has a number of other bars and clubs that all close at the same time.
The society fears it will mean punters, often with a few drinks inside them, could spill out into the road and be a danger to themselves and others.
In turn, the club owners have promised to take a series of steps to mitigate its impact, including no open doors or windows, security staff on the doors at all times and queues to get in well managed.
Let’s hope this issue gets amicably resolved – the re-emergence of Jojo’s as a cabaret club and venue for old Soho can’t help but warm the cockles.