R.I.P Luna Lounge Leytonstone – home of live music

Luna Lounge

It was so sad to hear of the closure of the Luna Lounge, Leytonstone last week. Luna was a beacon in the community – lighting up Church Lane with live music. A bohemian dive bar and a Sunday afternoon chill out, a late night blues club and a folk club evoking the heyday of Greenwich Village. And that was just four days of the week – the Luna provided live music seven days a week at time when London’s live music venues were biting the dust like French soldiers at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.  Suja created something magical at the Luna Lounge that will live long in the memory.

There were so many incredible nights at the Luna Lounge. One highlight for me that demonstrated what Luna gave us was after a great gig at What’s Cookin in the ex-Services Club by two touring Americana acts from the U.S, the musicians decamped to Luna to do a second jam session into the small hours of a Wednesday morning. Where else would you find that, not just in Leytonstone, but in London.

Luna Lounge

Car Free Day at Luna Lounge

But the true judge for me of what Suja and the Luna Lounge gave the Leytonstone Community were not the rocking nights at the bar as part of the throng, but the evenings wandering on the other side of Church Lane looking across at the scene inside the Luna Lounge, the music wafting across the street, an event you could experience by proxy on the way to the shops.

Suja was always a great host, ever ready to help the community, keen to be of service. He ran a tight ship, trouble-makers were rare but dealt with calmly and effectively. It was noticeable the diversity of the people who felt safe to enjoy a night out at the Luna. And they came from far and wide. When telling people I lived in Leytonstone, you’d often hear people reply that they knew the area solely because of Luna Lounge. Musician travelled from all over to play at the Lounge. It became legendary.

Luna Lounge

East London Writers Club at Luna Lounge

So why has it closed. There are conflicting reports. I spoke to Suja not long after the Police had visited with the Borough licencing officers to check whether Covid regulations were being properly followed. He was still visibly shaken. He’s built that venue up from scratch to make it what it is, poured his heart and soul to turn a dream into a reality and give such joy to so many. It seems particularly harsh and overly bureaucratic to haul him in front of a licencing review conducted in such challenging circumstances. You like to think common sense and a degree of humanity could have prevailed. But it seems not.

Waltham Forest has lost an alarming number of pubs and venues over the last decade. It can ill afford to lose another, especially such a gem as the Luna Lounge. The music has stopped in Church Lane, and it’s hard to imagine that it will return when the virus subsides. And the licencing authorities will be to blame for the loss this valuable community asset. Long Live the Luna Lounge! And best of luck to Suja and the Luna crew whatever they do next.


The Luna Lounge appears to be back open again and hosting fantastic live music. Can’t wait to get back in there.