Wonderbar is opening in Leytonstone

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The replacement for All You Read Is Love looks like it’s shaping up nicely

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It was sad when local fave All You Read is Love unexpectedly closed its doors at the end of April. But here’s the good news: the shiny new replacement is Wonderbar, a mostly vegan cafe by day and bar-music-venue by night.

We caught up with owner Paul Matthew Kelly, aka Paul Guided Missile. “I moved to London from Liverpool when I left school in late 80s,” he says, “and spent the 90s all over London before I finally settled in Leytonstone in the early 2000s. I’ve made a lot of friends here and totally absorbed myself in the place. I love it.”

And yes, Paul, who’s been a musician all his life and plays in a band called Dream Themes, was a big fan of All You Read is Love. “I was a regular. I offered to do a monthly music quiz which ran for a couple of years and was massively popular. About six weeks ago I was told the news that AYRIL weren’t going to continue beyond their lease agreement. I loved the place so much, and knowing how much love there was for it – and what a massive asset to the community it was – I couldn’t bear the idea of it turning into an estate agent or a chicken shop.”

Paul up a ladder in his new bar. Photo: Wonderbar
So the next morning he phoned the landlord and set up a meeting. “In the following weeks, others came forward looking to take over the space, but I was determined it would go to a passionate Leytonstone person with big ideas and – after cancelling two holidays and taking out a huge loan – I hammered the point home and got the place.”

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Woop! So what exactly will the space be? Well, Paul managed the Buffalo Bar by Highbury station for ten years until in closed in 2014. “It was popular because of its people and the overall vibe of the place,” he says. “And I want this to be a friendly and familiar space too, a community hub. We’ll be a family-friendly vegetarian (in fact, mostly vegan) cafe by day and a bar-venue in the evenings.”

So you can expect live music, DJs, events, film screenings, art openings and a host of community-based activities. “We aim to source all our goods locally, from our Signature Brew draft ales to our locally-sourced coffee, roasted in Leyton, and home-baked goods from Walthamstow. We welcome parents, babies and young children and even have a designated (free) pushchair car park inside the venue. Above all, we want to be a friendly and fun place for all local people to visit.”

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Wonderbar opens on June 1st at 877 Leytonstone High Road E11. Follow them @wonderbarE11

Main image: Stephen Emms

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