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Fired Hydrant

This may seem a tad parochial by SchNEWS' usually global reach, but we stumbled upon some dodgy goings on at one of our local boozers and regular benefit host which seemed worthy of bringing to our readership's attention.

The Hydrant, a Brighton pub which serves primarily as a gig venue, has committed a rather bemusing act of hari-kiri. New management took over a few weeks ago and they've wasted no time in successfully alienating staff and punters alike.

With all the warmth and charm of a turd in a fridge the new licensee has treated promoters, bands and customers with contempt, sacked bar staff because she “hates gays”, pulled gigs without telling the people actually putting them on and declared that “'all musicians are idiots”. As a result almost all the gigs booked at the Hydrant have now been cancelled or relocated. Even if some promoters were willing to overlook the decidedly dodgy views of the new regime, both sound engineers have quit and taken their gear with them.


About two months ago the new owners (AJ Trade House Ltd – a suspicious looking front company, apparently operating out of Middlesex) arrived promising to invest money into improving the equipment and décor of the venue. However within weeks things went south as there was continually change and confusion as to what the overall plan was, at the same time relations with their new employees soured considerably – with all the existing staff getting “treated like shit”. Shortly after this both the general manager and bar manager were sacked on the vague pretence of “lying” and “missing stock”. Unsurprisingly evidence of the alleged theft of between £5,000-25,000 worth of stock is pretty thin on the ground.

The real reasons for the women's dismissal might be a tad more sinister, an applicant for one of the recently vacated positions was asked by Jasspal 'Jas' Singh (owner/director/manager of AJ Trade) “are you gay?” because “we don't want any more of them working here”. While numerous punters and ex-staff have heard homophobic remarks from Louise (one of thr new managers, described as "Jas's Terminator") including the classic “I don't like those lesbians”. Whatever justification Jas & Louise come up with for the sacking, both were let go without notice, are still owed wages and one was also made homeless from the flat above the Hydrant.


On Saturday 23rd June things came to a head for the few staff who did remain. Equipment for a gig upstairs was due to be loaded in at 3pm, but by 5pm there was no bar staff and the venue still hadn't been cleaned. Although the event eventually went ahead an hour late, the promoter was left out of pocket as a result and refused to pay the hire fee at the end of the night. In response Louise locked the doors, refused to let bands take their gear and turned into a “shouting, swearing, nutter”. Unimpressed by this approach to negotiation most promoters have now pulled their gives from the venue and the sound men – who were both working that night – walked out.

SchNEWS has attempted to talk to contact the current owners, but to little avail. Recently pints were flogged off at £2 each and they're now closed with building work ongoing. Whether anyone will want to visit when they reopen seems unlikely.

There are 12 comments on this story...
Added By: ad mirer - 6th July 2012 @ 1:47 AM
I'm following you guys on twitter, in town, used to be based next to you oh so long ago when you were at the metway. Have loved and respected for way over a decade, was a sysadmin for delysid. One loving piece of feedback. Pls no more Facebook links. It's a front for the bad guys. Why can't you do short linx from tinyurl?
Added By: James Ledward - 8th July 2012 @ 11:24 AM
If the allegations are corrected this should have been reported to the police as a homophobic incident/crime. A homophobic crime is a crime where the victim or someone else thinks it is. If anyone who worked for the Hydrant feels they have been the victim of a homophobic crime here would they contact me on info@gscene.com
James Ledward, editor of Gscene Magazine
Added By: Amy - 11th July 2012 @ 11:22 AM
I'm totally confused by this story. I was hired by and worked for Louise as a pub manager whilst being openly gay. She has lots of gay friends and goes to gay clubs, and actually suggested me moving to Brighton a while ago because of there being more like-minded people. She's certainly never struck me as homophobic... far from it.
Added By: Anonymous - 11th July 2012 @ 5:03 PM
...some of my best friends are gay... yeah right
Added By: Anonymous - 17th July 2012 @ 6:05 PM
this pub will close very soon after re-opening as there will be little reason to go there... wonder who their 'target audience' will be?

and if anyone suspects a hate crime has been committed all you have to do is report it to the police and they are duty bound to investigate..

regarding the breach of contracts, small claims court or indeed litigation can be brought against the holding company or management..
Added By: Anonymous - 14th August 2012 @ 11:15 AM
The manager Louise has been harbouring a prisoner on the run for the past 3 weeks!!! He's most probably still there. This place is nothing like it used to be its a complete shit hole now and only full of her junkie friends taking class a substances in there!!! You do know she spends most of her time upstairs snorting cocaine don't you perhaps that's why he flew into a rage on the 23rd June because that gig money was for her next fix!
Added By: Bilbo - 27th August 2012 @ 2:03 PM
This place has always been a shit-hole - doubt that will ever change. I wouldn't be seen dead in there.
Added By: Anonymous - 18th September 2012 @ 4:29 PM
Is there an update to this story?
Added By: Anonymous - 18th September 2012 @ 4:30 PM
biblo theres waaaay worser pubs in brighton than The Hydrant.
Added By: bar staff - 15th November 2012 @ 3:06 PM
The hydrant has now changed its name back to the hare and hounds and is now in completely new management and is taking bookings for bands, I am bar staff at the hare and hounds and was around when louise was running things, while she was there our assistant manager was again, very openly gay, things have changed there and completely new people have taken it over. We are trying to get things going again and we are succeeding slowly but surely. Pop in and have a look for yourselfs, we have already had a few bands on and have alot more booked.
Added By: jason - 24th April 2013 @ 4:01 PM
Has Louise definitely gone? Mental.
Added By: JC - 19th May 2013 @ 11:59 AM
I just took a gig here and tried to invite some well known press people who refused to come to the gig because of some fannying around by the venue. I'm guessing it is to do with what is said in this article. Can anyone confirm that those people have nothing to do with this venue anymore?
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Twitter: @SchNEWS