Birthplace of heavy metal icons hopes to inspire other musicians
- Credit: Archant
The pub where Iron Maiden were spotted 45 years ago is hoping its reopening will launch the careers of the next generation of musical pioneers.
The Cart & Horses in Maryland could reopen as soon as March if coronavirus restrictions allow.
Landlord Kastro Pergjoni said: “Back in the day, people used to say, ‘If you made it to the Cart and Horses, you made it to the Top of the Pops’. We want to bring that back. The stage is here.
“If you can do that, then hopefully you can make it the same way as Maiden.”
The independent venue is known as the birthplace of the heavy metal band which was formed in 1975 by bassist and songwriter Steve Harris. It was the first public place where Iron Maiden started playing regularly.
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The plan is to take the pub back to the 1970s and 80s, shifting the door back to the old entrance and decorating a corner of the watering hole with Iron Maiden memorabilia.
Kastro has been behind the bar since 2016, leasing the pub from the building’s owners who are converting the beer garden and car park into flats.
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The cellar has been turned into a live gig venue with capacity for up to 150 people, subject to a licence agreement.
The pub closed in June 2019, though work didn’t start until January this year because of the need to underpin the walls with the railway line next door.
But the work has taken time with worker numbers limited for social distancing. The plan is to welcome punters back in March.
On whether Iron Maiden could put in an appearance, Kastro said: “You never know.”
But he explained how the pub almost became a trendy bar.
“My background was in cocktail making so it was supposed to change into a bar. But then, seeing people come down to take pictures inside we thought we can’t take the history away. You can’t let the fans down.”
Bringing back the look and feel of the traditional Cart & Horses is central to that pledge, particularly with so many pubs in the neighbourhood already having called last orders for the final time. But serving the community is of equal importance to Kastro and his team.
“Hopefully, it will not feel like much has changed,” Kastro added.