What’s going on with the Marie Lloyd bar?

I went past the Marie Lloyd bar again today and it’s not looking so much like a bar anymore, it’s full of food display cabinets – but the optics still look like there are there. Is it turning into a restaurant? Does anyone know?


  1. It’s being refurbished then opened & run by Urban Inns, who also run the Old Ship. Think there will be increased focus on daytime service, but still open as a bar in the evening

  2. @mattyc – ah cool thanks for the update, it’s never particularly full, so I guess they need to make a difference to bring the punters in.

  3. Thanks @mattyc for the info. I think that’s a good move; the Ship is a nice place to go in an area with very few \accessible” pubs that aren’t too trendy or too “dog on a string”.”

  4. I think the decision was taken as part of the savings proposals in 2009/10. Their 2010 Trustee’s Report says that \The autumn of 2010 has seen the start of a new service contract for running the theatre bars and catering operation. Early in 2011 the Marie Lloyd Bar will be renamed and refurbished as the Empire Cafe. The main customer-facing box office operation will move into this cafe area”.It definitely seems like too good a spot just to be used for pre-show drinks!”

  5. It’s a shame to see the name change – Marie Lloyd was a famous music hall performer from hoxton (more here) although prior to the refurb it was the Samuel Pepys”

  6. No! I’m really disappointed that they are changing the name away from Marie Lloyd.She was the ultimate music hall performer and it was so fitting. Is it really too late to do/say anything about this?

  7. It’s odd when it’s only been the Marie Lloyd since the refurb in 05 (can anyone verify this date?)I’m sure the council can let you know more – um… cos the planning department always know what’s going on… um

  8. I agree about the name, what a shame to choose to remove that link to the theatre’s past. The new name will be Empire Cafe, and it’s definitely non-negotiable as it’s already on their windows! The menu boards are offering sandwiches and salads, as well as coffee, ‘colonial’ teas and Meantime beers (which I think are also sold in the Ship). Not sure when they plan to open but it’s looking good inside.”

  9. I really liked the Marie Lloyd name, but I think this change is to be welcomed; ‘Empire Café’ is very descriptive of what the place is and also suggests that it is open to all, rather than just theatre goers.

  10. Regarding Marie Lloyd, is there a blue plaque on the outside of the Empire?

  11. Check over here. There is a blue plaque on Graham Road”

  12. Just saw this tweet from @hackneyempire:Have you been to our new Empire Cafe? Its looking great and perfect for afternoon tea!Looks like it is open then – anyone been?

  13. Yeah I went on Weds, which I think was their first day open. Should probably be described as a ‘soft launch’- their extensive sandwich menu was unavailable, but they did have some pre-made ones and some salady bits. The manager was enthusiastic and welcoming (had a very smart curly moustache), but was flanked by almost a dozen staff who sadly had no idea what they were doing. Didn’t venture to the coffees, but the ham & cheese sarnie I had was okay.Will definitely be going back, but think they need a bit of time to settle in.As they say it is looking great, it just feels like they opened in a hurry. On the up side, they have the same mad wallpaper as the Ship!

  14. ooh afternoon tea sounds great! we need that in hackney. if it’s a proper one i’ll go for sure. doesn’t tempt me so far. caffe theatro isn’t bad either but that’s another thread

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