‘Yuppies Out’ party to protest against Champagne and Fromage bar in Brixton

Champagne and FromageMore than 300 people have signed up to a party to protest against the opening of a new Brixton wine bar called Champagne and Fromage.

The event, organised by a group called Yuppies Out, which claims to stand against gentrification in South London, will involve live music as well as providing free Dairylea cheese slices and White Ace cider. It has been advertised on Facebook, with 336 people saying they plan to attend.

The stated aim of the event “is to try and disturb the yuppie infidels so much that they choke on their rancid fizz and vintage death cheese.”

The wine shop and tasting bar was due to open in Granville Arcade (Brixton Village) some time this week.

Champagne and Bubbles owner Stefano Frigerio, who already owns one branch of Champagne and Fromage in Covent Garden, told Brixton Blog yesterday: “I am worried. I hope they are reasonable. They are entitled to have their views and I respect that, I don’t agree with some on their views.”

Frigerio insisted earlier this year that the controversial new venture “will not be posh”.

The street party will be held just opposite the Coldharbour Lane entrance to Brixton Market.

38 COMMENTS

  1. To be honest, i have worked in Brixton Village for 2 years and only lived in Brixton for 6 years now. I moved from Dalston where i was born and raised and eventually decided to leave as it became unbearably ‘hip’ and full of ‘trendies’. Dalston has gentrified beyond belief and whilst I am all for the development of an area, the increase of jobs and prospects, not only does it push out the locals who have been working hard for years to build up businesses, it does one thing that you’re forgetting, it kills a certain community that exists. Many people get alienated or feel the pressure to move.

    People in Brixton should protest about the phone shops, big corporate companies, etc but the high street has never really been owned by local business men and community, the council will always allow one more Tesco where it can, Loughborough Junction becoming the next area of transformation and example. What Brixton Village was, was a market not only with local business men owning their own shops, but they built the shop, events and bought community together with their hands.. No advertising required, you didnt have to go down there, but if you wanted a place to have a relaxed drink and be a part of the Brixton community you knew where to go. The Hooternanny was also another cornerstone in local Brixton community and Grant you should know all about that.

    For the 2 years i worked in the Village ending only last summer due to pregnancy, the place had changed dramatically which is good and bad. Many of the local meat and veg shops were being pushed out (yes i know i know, business is business) but actually Nour Cash & Carry was only saved from closure due to the community telling the council it was ridiculously unfair to raise the rent so high to push out a good local business that everyone uses! The community came together and protested and saved it.

    I know everyone thinks this protest regarding the ‘yuppies’ is a nonsensical one, and maybe they are being too judgemental themselves but what I know is, the locals of Brixton, specially Brixton Market too, all black, white, asian, working and middle class are protesting about the loss of a culture and community that you have to admit gets a little lost when a shop moves in and they dont necessarily ‘fit’ the local scene. Why should people care? fine, but like the guys who opened the Jerk place near Manca, when he moved in, he arrogantly expressed in the Media how he had ‘bought real Jerk Chicken to Brixton..’ WTF?!?! Jerk Chicken bought your business to Brixton.. what did you think you were doing? Dont be so offensive and completely ignore the local culture. My point is, you cannot move in to an area and completely negate the local culture and community as thats what big businesses do and thats what kills ‘locality’ in places. This Champagne shop is not about the fact its posh or yuppies are moving in (but i will add, i dealt with many ‘Claphamites telling me…’Whaaat? you dont take card?? Just useless!’ … why ?? this is a little village and its how the local people have set it up.. Not every where should be ‘grimy and full of crackheads’ but not every where needs to work like a middle class franchise!), its about the fact that it seems (in appearance obviously to the locals) that they havent done their research, whether people want this product or not, they have negated what the essence of the market is about, how the local people use the market (not just your Friday night visitors) and what the local community enjoy. Gentrification will always happen and the benefits are good, we all know that, but what is so sad to watch, is the way that when an area is created with hard work and sweat by the locals, once it has any recognition for what it has become, it is taken and divided like a cake, everyone wanting a bit of the action and cash that they see it can make..

    So whilst i understand your frustration with all the ‘grimy crack addict middle class contradictory locals’ that were protesting, bare in mind that its more to do with what they are trying to save and its not just about pushing the ‘yuppies out’.

    but yeh, go enjoy your champagne…

    • Leonie,
      Admirable and moderate comments. I see exactly what you are saying about the loss of sense of community—some of the more daft units in the market are not only out of place but also not very good, and these will gradually fall away as people simply don’t go to them.
      But the urge to conserve the essential character of a neighbourhood should not be a guiding principle. If you try to stop change in a city, neighbourhood, region or country even, then you are on your way to becoming a reactionary—on your way to uttering the immortal words: “we don’t want that sort moving in round here.”
      Social change is uncomfortable because of the feeling of powerlessness it brings—but city neighbourhoods are always in a state of flux, and that goes for Brixton especially, one of the most variegated places in Britain, perhaps the world. It’s undergone almost unbelievable transformations since the 19th Century, it;s changing now, it will continue to change at rapid pace and there is nothing that any of us can do about it. Societies don’t just stop—it can’t be done. Except for in North Korea.
      If it’s significant, I’ve lived round here since 1976.

      • I believe that Brixton is actually trying to find itself. What has been, at least in the last 20 years, was mostly unpleasant but tolerated or even loved locally and despised nationally. I mean the bad stuff, born out of poverty and flux, and let’s face it, neglect. It is now in transition, what is there now will not last – it does after all take time to build a stable community from one trying to be reborn. The community that has lasted through the hard times is a strong one because it has stuck together through the hard times, but now, it is in change again, as the cost of the rest of London, drives the young into the area. This will make the locals who stuck at it feel displaced, as the Brixton they have known is changing, but most locals see it for the better. It is only the fake locals like Yuppies Out, who seem to take it on themselves to mock or jeer at the changes, as if they really care! Brixton still has a long way to go before being grown up and constant change will flow. The access to West End, the eateries and bars and the new housing stock will invite the new influx, but this will be moderated against the reality of the huge public housing stock and its residents, the strong ethnic presence, the history of grime and crime, the attachment of the real – last 50 years locals to their home and the hopeless council, to ensure that the fears of becoming a vanilla middle class enclave are a far cry from reality.

  2. Saw the photos of the Yuppies Out protest. Just looked like a bunch of hipster art students-cum-squatters, most i would bet once had a middle-class background in their home-county childhoods, but have since developed an overblown sense of self-entitlement and feel the need to complain about ficticious yuppies created in their warped little minds. Basically looked like a bit of a joke.

  3. Live and let live. Everything changes. I cant even afford to live in Brixton any more. But Champagne & Fromage is more jobs, more opportunity, more visitors. More money in the area. All these people complaining about the gentrification of Brixton
    You still want to live with the squalor and crack-heads, constant aggressive hustling dope dealers. And the constant shouting and fighting and general defunct behaviour that you would have to witness on an hourly basis around the station, Coldharbour and the market. Everyone wanting to be hard men. The constant tension, threat of violence. Fuck that!!! I’ve lived around Brixton for over 12 years. I for one… am glad I can walk down the street with my child without having to witness these all time hard men and their behaviour. Do you want to know something else. Most of these hard ass fuckers didn’t even live in Brixton. This is where they came to, to shit on us.
    I for one am glad it’s more gentrified. I’m glad to have my businesses here. I’ve always liked Brixton regardless. This gentrification has allowed me to grow, and put back into my community by providing more work and jobs. I only employ local. Brixton has been gentrified by us locals first. We put our hearts into our work, and the rest of London liked what we did. Its not surprising that bigger business want to come in and grab a slice of the action. So if you want to keep it small and local. Stop hitting the smaller players.
    Didn’t see you guys protesting when “3”, “o2” or “fone4you” or all these new companies open on the high street (like we really need another phone shop on the high street. 5 shops in a row!) If you want to do something start lobbying Lambeth Council, you local MP and the planning department to promote growth in the small business sector. By providing affordable space to rent for small business start ups, and get off your asses! And stopping smoking so much weed, because it makes you stupid.
    Another thing. If you’ve enough time to waste in interfering with someone else livelihood you probably don’t have a job, on social, got cheap housing… which means I’m subsidising you?!? Go f**k yourselves and get a job you tossers! You haven’t a clue about the time, effort, blood sweat and tears we put into our work!

    • Grant, you are a wise man. Large companies have opened business in Brixton without a peep. Hope others take the time to read your post before they post knee-jerk statements that essentially say “Yuppies out of Brixton”.

      • Very well said Grant – the permanently dispossesed and damaged souls over on Urban75 seem determined to grind their axes on supposed ‘hipster’ entryism.

    • Well said, Grant!
      Local businesses offering jobs to local people and reinvesting in the local community? Yes, please. The real problem is with H&M, the TWO Sainsbury’s local, and so on.

  4. Oh let’s all stay poor, enjoy the chip on our shoulders and eat the food of the 1950s, then.

    There are plenty of clever, successful and – let’s face it – upwardly mobile black professionals who enjoy champagne and maybe cheese too. Possibly some of them live in Brixton. If they can’t get their entertainment in Brixton because of hippies trying to guilt-trip them, they’ll just go to Convent Garden with the rest of us.

  5. Ooh thanks, I hadn’t heard that a bubbles and cheese place was opening in the market – sounds delicious, I’ll be sure to pop in.

  6. Some disgraceful comments, presumably moderated, which the wording of this article was sadly designed to elicit. Ever get the feeling you are being astroturfed?

    A more erudite discussion is taking place elsewhere.

    • You should see the Y.O. FB page. I haven’t seen so much sexual violence and swearing since reading the back of the cubical doors in the boys’ toilets at my secondary school!

  7. It is funny to see the form that social conservatism takes nowadays—”no to social progress. Keep things the way they were. Halt the future,” etc. It’s the same strain that objected to the Windrush. Such people are contemptible. Almost certainly all of them will be white, left wing and secretly posh.

    On the other hand, am I alone in thinking the market has rather shot its bolt? It’s a great spectacle and nice to know it’s there—but really, many of the eateries are over-priced, the service is appalling and much of the food is pretty average. Some of the proprietors who run those outlets are rather up themselves too.

    I hereby declare that the market is passé.

    There. I said it.

  8. Please Please read Rosamund Urwins piece in the Evening Standard. These guys are independent shop owners for gods sake!

  9. Generally it is not the long term residents of Brixton at all who protest to these things but a bunch of mindless whinging scroungers who falsely think that they represent them. Anyway, it is nothing more than inverted snobbery. Maybe they should shut down the Ebony riding school too eh? As that represents a sport for the elite, like Champagne is supposed to represent booze for the elite?

    Whinging scroungers out, as someone recently posted on this blog, gets my vote.

  10. These people fuelled by this rag are pathetic. They seem to prefer Brixton when everything was crime ridden, shops empty and nobody felt safe. Good on all these entrepreneurs who have the guts and are prepared to work hard to make a future. These ‘300’ people should watch and learn.

    Brixton with great places to eat and drink, a lively market and local jobs is a great place.

  11. i am with Gert , why are we not protesting against all the revolting fast food companies that hold prime positions in Brixton that are the cause for obesity. give me a glass of champagne and a piece of cheese made in Dorset rather than a giant milkshake and a bucket of fatty chicken bits…sue me too!!!!

  12. Brixton was built as a area for the rich – now there finally coming home … who dont like champers anyway – certainly the black community do ..

  13. I feel rather sorry for the proprietor. The Granville Arcade’s gentrification was just about complete before his arrival. I was about to add ‘for better or worse’, then I remembered Franco Manca’s pizza and decided it has to be ‘for better’. It’s odd that the owners can’t see how foppishly annoying their business name is, though. They might have gone under the radar completely if they were just ‘Wine and Cheese’.

  14. My family and I have lived in Brixton for more than 70 years, myself since 1963.
    I have seen a lot of changes and witnessed a lot over these years, I remember when you couldn’t have paid people to live in Brixton. But mostly I remember people coming from all over to visit our market and our shops. We welcomed new businesses, if Brixton had of had narrow minded people living in it, where independent shops (Ethnic Flight, Coxon) were chased away because it didn’t fit in with a small minority it wouldn’t be the great place it is now. Champagne and Fromage may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is not compulsory you have to go in and buy from them. I am of the mind the people holding the protest are Yuppies exiled and are trying to be Brixtonians themselves.

    • Totally agree with Brixtonian. I’ve lived in Brixton my whole life (yep, long time….) and I believe those protesting against this cheesy bar are just yuppies themselves and not truly representative of the people of Brixton. The best protest is not to eat at this place… most ordinary people couldn’t afford to anyway.

  15. I would rather eat cheese that may come direct from the producer, who may get a fair price for their product, than Dairylea traingles made by a multi-national and with questionable provenance and dubious content.

    Do ‘Yuppies Out’ hold similar protests against McDonalds or Starbucks, or is it easier to pick on a small, seemingly independent business?

    I’ve lived in Brixton 18 years, and am too old to be a Yuppy. I do appreciate the concerns about ‘gentrification’ but feel there are far more appropriate targets.

  16. A pointless, counterproductive exercise. Champagne & Fromage will get free publicity and loads of people who otherwise wouldn’t have been bothered either way about the place opening will now be sympathetic to a new shop just trying to have a go at it.

  17. ‘Champagne and Fromage’ makes me cringe, but then again so does ‘Yuppies Out’.

    Protesting outside a restaurant opening is 6th Form level of activism, they would be better focusing their efforts on local council and developers. They’re achieving nothing more than showing off in public and giving the place free publicity.

  18. Have Yuppies Out been hired by the venue’s PR company? They are certainly ensuring that the opening is being talked about and receives media coverage!

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