While fundraising efforts continue to find a new home for The Crobar, the central London heavy metal dive bar frequented by the likes of Dave Grohl, Machine Head, Slayer, HIM, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber (no, really…), owner Richard Thomas is launching the world’s first online pub in a bid to re-ignite the sense of community which has been eroded since the world went into lockdown 12 months ago.
When The Crobar announced in September 2020 that it would not be re-opening post-pandemic, blaming the UK’s “idiot government”, “greedy insurance companies” and “greedy, short-sighted landlords”, regular patrons and visitors from around the world rallied around to support fund-raising efforts to find the bar a new location. At the time of writing, £72,385 has been raised for the appeal, illustrating the affection in which the pub was held during its 19 years as a focal point of London’s rock and metal community. Now Richard Thomas hopes to create a new space online for the global metal community with the launch of The Crobar Virtual Party Room.
“Since we closed down our physical location and started this crowdfund, the amount of people who have shared how much loss they’ve felt since that fateful Facebook post is immeasurable,” says Thomas. “It’s why, with the help and hard work of some techy fans, we were able to set up an online pub to recreate that ‘safe zone’ where people can chat, giggle and share stories – without judgement – and re-attune their social skills again!’
Those logging in to the virtual pub will be able to create their own tables or float around other tables with groups of up to 8.
“Our three pilot tests before the launch worked so well because we’re all dealing with practically the same struggles,” says Thomas. “I am so grateful to be of some service to the punters who require this outlet; furthermore, the feedback I’m getting is that it’s fun and people are making new friends!”
The Crobar Virtual Party Room is a free global event that runs every Friday from 15:00 GMT – 15:00 GMT Saturday. Customers only need to register once which will give them unlimited entry to any Friday event. Even when pubs reopen, the Virtual Bar will stay open for those who still feel the ramifications of the ongoing pandemic.
Fundraising to help The Crobar reach its £95,000 target are still active, with new items, including donations from HIM, Judas Priest, Rival Sons and more, are now available in the bar’s prize raffle. For full details, visit the bar’s crowdfunder site.