Libertines Carl Barât and Edie Langley open doors of Justine’s nightclub in Margate

Inside Justine's Photo Frank Leppard

Photos by Frank Leppard

It has been a “four year labour of love” but Libertines co-frontman Carl Barât and partner Cruel Hearts Club’s Edie Langley finally open the doors of Justine’s nightclub in Margate tonight (April 14).

Photo Frank Leppard

The couple, who are parents to sons Eli, 12, and Ramone, 8, have transformed the former Pisces Bar and Inferno site in Marine Gardens from “a disgusting hole in the ground” into a modern bar with artwork from isle creatives, a stage, DJ booth and an upstairs drinking room -although works were taking place right up until the last minute.

Photo Frank Leppard

The aim is for the bar to have an inclusive programme of events with a varied range of music and, at a later date, live theatre and cabaret.

Carl and Edie at the TMS benefit gig Photo Frank Leppard

Carl, 44, said: “Edie and I are incredibly proud to finally be opening the door of Justine’s nightclub.

“It has been a four year labour of love and at times impossibly difficult to balance with all of our other projects, covid, economic turmoil, whilst raising our kids.

Photo Frank Leppard

“On first viewing, the property was a truly disgusting hole in the ground, a sort of B movie Fritzel dungeon, steeped in the funk of the pigeons that had been thriving there since the 90s.  There was no electricity, just wires hanging like vines, rubble, plaster and mountains of bird shit.”

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It might not sound like everyone’s dream but Carl said he spotted a pint glass at the end of the dusty bar and a folded 1991 newspaper and that prompted a vision of the club’s rich musical history and how it could be revived.

Photo Frank Leppard

He added: “For the council to allow me to reopen the place, I had to prove to them it had actually been a bar, which required much drunken investigation from the more seasoned Margate drinkers.

“Many people remembered it very very fondly, as the site of their first band/drink/kiss.  Many didn’t remember it at all -so they were probably definitely there!”

Photo Frank Leppard

Carl heard tales from  The Inferno, The Cellar Bar and Gavaroche and Pisces and memories of the site being a gay serviceperson’s club in the 40s, to gaining a licence as a social club from 1952 to Inferno and punk music, 80s raves, a gig by Prodigy and hosting its last night of music with a Smiths cover band.

Pisces bar flyers Photo Frank Leppard

Now, with the licence finally in place Justine’s will open at 9pm tonight for the next stage of the venue’s life.

Carl said: “There is a top of the range sound system and we have a local guy called Barney who has created an interesting cocktail menu.

Photo Frank Leppard

“We are trying to programme events so it is inclusive, not just Libertines and Indie but working with local curators so there will be all sorts of different nights coming up.

“We are starting off with just weekends and have a 2am licence.”

Photo Frank Leppard

Carl says Love Café, which he and Edie opened with Gizzi Erskine and music industry insider Ronnie Traynor in 2021 but closed at the end of last year,  is now earmarked to be taken over by Jah Jah, which already has a Caribbean restaurant in Ramsgate.

He said: “(Love Café) was a lovely idea but it wasn’t right for us.”

Photo Frank Leppard

Carl and bandmates Pete Doherty, John Hassall and Gary Powell have been a part of the isle community since they bought the former Palm Court Hotel in 2017 for £458,000.

They renamed it The Albion Rooms  and set about a three year transformation creating a studio, hotel rooms, The Waste Land bar and restaurant at the five storey Victorian building.

Photo Frank Leppard

The band also sponsors kit for Margate FC, played an impromptu gig at The Oval Bandstand and Lawns and drummer  Gary Powell visited youngsters at Chatham & Clarendon school in his role as  ambassador for Stop Hate UK. In February Carl and Edie took part a benefit gig to raise money to save The Margate School (TMS) from closure.

The opening of Justine’s tonight will feature Carl, Edie and The Parker Boys as DJs plus special guests.

Manager Pearl with (left) barmen Ryan and Scott and hospitality consultant (right) Barnaby Photo Frank Leppard

The team includes venue manager Pearl Jarvis, hospitality consultant Barnaby Ingram  and barmen Ryan Harman and Scott Martin.

Entry is £5.

Find out more on the Justine’s facebook page here

Libertines co-frontman Carl Barát on why his family will make the full-time move to Margate

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  1. Well.done guys remember the residents around that area who have to put up with noise to the small hours residents above love were always complaining about being kept away I know most of the people who live there and who live in Grosvenor place were fed up.

  2. The beginning of trouble in Margate, when the club closes at 2am that’s when the trouble will start on the streets, give it some weeks and there will be stabbing ect.

    • It’s a hipster nightclub, no ones going to get stabbed you d1ckhead. You sound like the kind of person who thinks mayonnaise is too spicy.

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