In one of the sweetest examples of karma, the Owl Sanctuary has risen again little more than two weeks after being forced to close due to the premises being sold in unpleasant and underhand circumstances, by all accounts. Now the Owl resides in a better location and probably with superior premises too. Almost directly opposite The Murderers it is now in a fairly central position with a large bar area downstairs and another bar upstairs in what will be the music room. The familiar backdrop at the back of the stage remains, of course. Albeit the music room probably has a slightly lower capacity everything else seems be improved and things could not have worked out better. Without straying too far into schadenfreude, it would seem the new owner of the former Owl now has an empty building on his hands that he paid twice the market value for, and thanks to the support of thousands of people in Norwich and beyond CAMRA have slapped an ACV status on the building which means it cannot be demolished or redeveloped. This story should be the very definition of the word “karma” in future editions of the dictionary.
After Dirty Stop Outs at The Murderers I headed across the road to the Owl for the tail end of their opening night. Entering the building it somehow feels how I imagined it would feel to enter CBGBs in New York, and indeed there are nods towards this with the signs and the alleyway entrance. Genius! The smell of paint is still fresh and they have done wonders, the same colour scheme as before, the Antifa flag and the owl murals are all present, as are the fantastic customers. I saw many familiar faces, made friends with others I didn’t previously know as everyone drunk the place dry within hours. Things have worked out unimaginably well, I already love this new venue. The Owl Sanctuary is an ethos and that cannot be destroyed, in fact everything has grown stronger and the community ties are bonded tighter than ever. This really is a beautiful story and shows the power of people, unity, community and integrity can triumph over capitalist greed and gentrification. It’s a very inspiring victory.
The Owl Sanctuary is something very special indeed, it is a pub that values community, bringing people together and reaching out to help others. On top of that of course it is a fine music venue run by music lovers who know their stuff. There’s never any trouble as they won’t tolerate dickheads so it’s a safe and friendly place too, as my friend Dan said last night “There’s so much love in this place!”
I can’t wait to see my first gig here in this new home, I can imagine the atmosphere being amazing!
Huge congratulations and respect to all The Owl Sanctuary team, the regulars, Outline, and all the supporters and donors.
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2016