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Privy, Lower Bridge Street, Canterbury, to open as bar

By Gerry Warren

Derelict underground toilets in Canterbury are being transformed into the city’s newest nightspot promising an experience fit for “Hollywood royalty”.

Aptly called Privy, the venue – next to the city wall in Lower Bridge Street – is set to open in time for Christmas and images of how it will look have been exclusively released to the Kentish Gazette.

Owner Angela Long, who also runs the Loft in St Margaret’s Street, is promising “true decadence” with the emphasis on style and glamour and customers made to feel like “A-listers”.

An artist's impression of how the new Privy venue will look
An artist's impression of how the new Privy venue will look

“This has been a vision of the potential of the former underground toilets that is finally coming to fruition in true elegant style,” she said.

“They have been entirely renovated to epitomise sophistication with an opulent touch of gold and timeless class. This is modern luxury.

“Customers will feel like Hollywood royalty in this gorgeous space. With a hint of urban hipster chic, the vibe is reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy.”

Ms Long says the venue will also provide a daytime bolt-hole and open from 11am to serve coffee and pastries.

But in the evenings it will transform into a chic nightspot, serving fine wines, beers and cocktails until 3am.

The council says the site has considerable potential
The council says the site has considerable potential

The redundant facilities, which opened in 1930 and closed in 2000, were sold at auction by the city council in 2015 and snapped up for £198,000 by Ms Long

Since then she has been working on ideas for a new bar, taking inspiration from other underground venues around the world.

The distinctive wrought iron arches that marked the entrances to the men’s and women’s chambers will remain.

In the auction sales pitch, the city council suggested it may also approve a new, contemporary structure at ground level, with large areas of glazing and “innovative roof lines”.

But it also warned that it was an important landmark site in a visually prominent position and “preservation of the setting and views of the city wall must be safeguarded.”

Ms Long has decided to delay any ground-level development at this stage but has Canterbury-based architects BDB working on designs which could be forthcoming in the next six months.

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