Matt Whiley and Rich Woods have closed their Hackney bar Scout for good.
Founder Matt Whiley announced the closure on Instagram in a statement that read: “Covid beat us. Thank you so everyone that came, enjoyed, and supported over the last four and a half years. Choose Local, Eat Local, Support Local.”
The bar has become a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic which has called last orders at thousands of licenced premises in the UK.
Whiley opened Scout in April 2017 in Old Street having previously founded Peg + Patriot and co-founded Purl and Worship Street alongside Thomas Aske and Tristan Stephenson.
Scout arrived under a banner of “live off the land”, with a drinks menu that was always seasonal, sustainable, and minimised waste.
A year later, the bar relocated to Hackney and added a new basement dive bar, Gold Tooth.
The Hackney site opened with a larger capacity and a food menu that stuck to the low-waste philosophy. The much-acclaimed menu gave Scout a Bar Food Menu of the Year award at the 2018 Class Bar Awards, with the bar a runner-up in 2019 and 2020 for the same award.
Rich Woods, who had formerly opened Sushisamba and Duck & Waffle, joined Whiley in 2019 as an equal-stake owner and business partner.
The same year, Whiley relocated to Sydney having opened a Scout twin venue in The Dolphin Hotel. He has since opened Re-, the world’s first permanent zero-waste bar, in the city.
Since opening, Scout was a persistent member of The World’s 50 Best Bars, placing 28th in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, it narrowly slipped from the list, placing 51st.
Whiley signed off his farewell post with an excerpt from Lordy Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, a poem of self-exile and a melancholy appreciation of nature.
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,”