Future uncertain for jazz at The Bull

The renowned Music Room at The Bull’s Head at Barnes, host to live jazz since 1959, may soon be closed in favour of a restaurant by new owners Geronimo Inns

The historic Bull’s Head in Barnes, southwest London has become the subject of speculation and rancour from jazz fans after Geronimo Inns took ownership of the venue in June.

It appears there are plans to convert the pub’s Music Room, which has presented musicians ranging from Dick Morrissey (pictured right) to Shorty Rogers (below), into a restaurant.

"The Bull" in Barnes, known as the "suburban Ronnie’s", has a long history dating back to 1684. In 1959 it was remodelled as a jazz pub, just weeks after Ronnie Scott’s opened in Soho, and has held jazz gigs seven days a week since. The pub’s Music Room has seen hundreds of new and established acts perform over the years, and was also featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues film series (2003).

A petition protesting against Geronimo’s plans to close the Music Room, urging fans to “please save the Bull’s Head Music Room”, can be signed at change.org. It currently has over 3,000 supporters.

However, Ed Turner, managing director of Geronimo Inns, has said that the plans for the pub are to “protect the music, and broaden the appeal and the offer for music fans and locals in Barnes.” The proposal is to move the current Music Room into the pub’s old stable, but only “if we can match or improve on the surroundings and the acoustics”. Mr Turner also stresses: “We are totally committed to continuing the live music but just want to make it more popular.”

A planning decision from the Council is awaited, details of which will doubtless be published on thebullshead.com in due course.

Sally Evans-Darby

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