L'Chaim: Kosher pub set to open in north London

Drinking in the atmosphere: Julie Lipowicz behind the bar at The Castle

Drinking in the atmosphere: Julie Lipowicz behind the bar at The Castle

The closure of the Fernandez kosher pub left many Jewish north Londoners without a watering hole where they could socialise.

But, one year on, another kosher pub is set to open under Federation supervision.

Owners of The Castle, on the junction between Cricklewood Lane and Finchley Road, want to turn it into a Jewish venue to attract more young people from the area.

The kitchen was made "vegetarian and fish only" last year. Business partner Robert Greene said making it kosher was the next logical step.

Customers will be able to buy kosher spirits, wine and beer and enjoy a range of pub fare with a kosher spin.

We want to be a place where Jews can drink, dance and have fun

The food will be provided by Jacky Lipowicz, chair of the Licensed Kosher Meat Traders' Association, and a nargila area in the beer garden has been set up for fans of the water pipe, which is popular in Israel.

Mr Greene, a former JFS pupil and FZY member, has already begun working to build up the pub's Jewish clientele by hosting events including a quiz night in aid of Jewish Blind and Disabled and a tour reunion party.

The intention is to build on that aspect while continuing to host general events, from zumba classes to Brazilian dance nights.

"We have a great dance floor, an unbelievable sound system and space for 260 guests inside," Mr Greene said. "We want to capture the simcha market - barmitzvahs, engagement parties and more.

"Fernandez was brilliant but it was a restaurant first. We want to be much more than a kosher restaurant with a bar; a place where Jews can drink and dance and have fun."

One upcoming event will be a dedication ceremony and barbecue in memory of Rabbi Alan Burns, who died last year at the age of 75.

His widow, Julie Lipowicz, said it would be in aid of University College Hospital's neuro-natal unit, a cause she knew was close to the rabbi's heart.

Mrs Lipowicz was optimistic about the prospects for the new kosher hang-out.

"It's a very nice atmosphere," she said. "It can be the next friendly place for young Jews."

Last updated: 12:29pm, October 19 2011