Big Changes at The Driver

Driver At a meeting held on Thursday evening at The Driver Bar and Restaurant on Caledonian and Wharfdale Roads, the pub's owner Billy Reilly told a group of about 15 local residents about his plans to improve the offerings at his establishment and dramatically modify the outside of building. 

The pub itself will remain on the ground floor with some slight modifications while a new restaurant will be added to the 1st floor.  The 2nd and 3rd floors will also be renovated and turned into smaller and more intimate bar/lounges.  Entry to the restaurant and upper floors will be via a new separate entrance on Killick Street.  Capacity to the upper floors will be approximately 100 people/floor (to be determined by the Council). Contrary to some reports we were told that there will be no outside space created.

Mr. Reilly spoke of dramatic changes to the appearance of the outside of the building. He indicated that has commissioned the well-known, French, landscape artist Patrick Blanc (confirmed by one local gardening expert) to construct vertical hanging gardens over the outside of the entire building.  Blanc's work is highly regarded in landscape design circles and it is Reilly's hope to establish the building as a "destination location" as a result of the changes proposed. Leblancmurvegetal11_3It is not clear whether or not new planning permissions will be required for these modification as this past September an extension of a previous Change of Use was approved by the Council.  Watch this space for more information.

Lastly, the group was told that there would be no modification to the current entertainment licensed hours which we believe run until 4 AM on Friday and Saturday night and 2 AM most other nights.

Mr. Reilly who also owns several of the clubs in the Good's Way Yards – The Cross, The Key, and Canvas, as well as Pasha in Victoria, made a special effort to assure local residents that The Driver was not going to be turned into another large club-like venue.  He hopes to continue in the pub tradition, creating a respected venue for local residents and business people.  Only time will tell.

Fast forward to June 2009, The Driver has now reopened with it's new facade and interior.  Check out their website for the latest information –


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7 Responses to Big Changes at The Driver

  1. Andrew Long says:

    You may have seen this already….

    “Among the first [new clubs] will be a taste of Ibiza when Reilly opens a Pacha roof terrace at his pub, the Driver, on Wharfdale Road.”

  2. Stephan says:

    Reilly specifically addressed that article and assured the group that it was totally incorrect.

    We’ll just have to see whether or not he will actually require some modification to his existing planning permission.


  3. he will need a change to his premises licence under the licensing act regime. islington are more effective on external noise control than camden – a roof terrace should be blocked by them as there are residents in close proximity. worth checking with the licensing people where this is in the process. unfortunately licensing decisions are taken centrally and not by the area committee.

  4. Andrew says:

    Simon Gallacher, Licensing Officer from Islington Council responded “There has been no application to extend or vary the licence for these premises. If an application is made to vary the licence then it will be advertised at the premises, in the local press and we will write to all residents within 50 metres.”

  5. Stephan says:


    Thanks for this update from Licensing. If you should hear about any applications being submitted to change any of The Driver’s Licensing Conditions, please let the Bulletin Board know so we can alert all our neighbours

  6. Barbs Willaims says:

    Are there any updates on what is happening with the redevelopment, and an idea of when the pub will be open again?

  7. Andrew says:

    Well the pub is definately open again, and the number of drunk young things wandering down Wharfdale Road at 2am shouting and screaming is increasing. Lets hope this isn’t a trend.

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