Betty in Barley Mow Passage closes down

Image above: inside Barlow Mow Passage bar-restaurant Betty

Restaurant-bar closes after less than two years since opening

The owner of Betty, the restaurant-bar in Barley Mow Passage, has decided to close the business less than two years since opening.

Steve Novak, who opened Betty in August 2021, said a range of problems led to his decision to close Betty, but blamed being unable to get a late licence or more outdoor seating as a primary reason for the closure.

Steve also condemned the lack of help from local councillors, though he said he doesn’t blame any one councillor for the closure.

Images above: seating was limited outside Betty

“A site with little potential. It will be boarded up for years”

Steve told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The only thing that Chiswick was lacking was a late licence and we couldn’t get one… There were lots of things that went wrong there, we’ve had poor management, we were a little arrogant in terms of the location and making it work was difficult though there was no assistance given by the councillors to make it work.

“Then of course we have the limitations with outdoor seating, all of which were less than the previous tenant had, and limitations with the licence all of which were less than the previous tenant had. Once you start edging away what a business can do then it takes profitability out of it. It’s a site now that I doubt has any hospitality [potential]. It will be boarded up for years.”

Staffing issues, which have been affecting the hospitality sector nationally, also contributed to the business’ failure, with Steve saying it was “the straw that broke the camels back.”

“[Betty] wasn’t making enough money to warrant spending more money to get a decent staff in, so it is what it is”, he added.

Betty offered ‘casual dining’ – sharing platters and traditional pub standards, with a range of beers and cocktails and an extensive wine list. The premises also had a lively bar and hosted regular weekend events, which included Halloween fancy dress parties and ‘December Discos’.

Images above: 

Chiswick set to remain quiet suburb in the evenings

Steve owns several restaurants in different parts of London and although Betty was doing “okay” in 2022, it was not doing as well as he expected it would and said a late licence and extra seating outside would have helped revitalise the business.

Barley Mow Passage has been pedestrianised in the evenings since 2011, when Sam Harrison applied and was granted the right to put tables outside what was then Sam’s Brasserie. It is closed to vehicles from 6.30pm – 10.00pm, Monday to Saturday.

Betty’s application for a late licence to open until 1.00am on Fridays and Saturdays was rejected after local residents objected to the plans, claiming drunken patrons would cause too much noise in the early hours.

The discussion went to the heart of what kind of place Chiswick wants to be: a quiet suburb or a city location with places where people could carry on drinking late. The three local residents who spoke against the application – one of whom, Jardine Appleton, is the general manager of The Lamb pub opposite Betty – were united in preferring a good night’s sleep.

Adam Davies said it didn’t matter how good a relationship local residents had with Steve and his staff at the restaurant, how many meetings they had or what safeguards they put in place, they would never be able to stop people who’d been drinking from being loud as they left.

Cllr Joanna Biddolph pointed out every street in Chiswick was residential and the problem was not unique to Mr Novak’s application.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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