Deptford’s newest creative space to help local artists


Meet Gordon McGowan owner of Buster Mantis. PIC:Gordon McGowan

Meet Gordon McGowan owner of Buster Mantis. PIC:Gordon McGowan

A Jamaican bar in Deptford launched their creative space on March 10 for local people to showcase their talent.

Set under the Deptford Railway, Buster Mantis who are well established in the area launched their creative space right next door to their existing bar and café.

The Owner of Buster Mantis Gordon Mcgowan, 31, of New Cross, told Eastlondonlines: “We have already hosted gigs from Goldsmiths students and we’re hosting another this Sunday . There’s also a radio broadcast going on here next Thursday ideally, we’re trying to get interesting things going on in a daily basis.”

Mcgowan said the bar’s name, Buster Mantis, comes from the very first Jamaican Prime Minister, Alexander Bustamante. He said: “It’s essentially a play on his name, because if you were to say it out loud, it’s a phonetic reinterpretation of his name so it’s kind of hidden in plain sight.

“I suppose it’s like having a British pub called Churchill because he was our first prime minister. And he was the first one who established independence in the country. We’re fully independent. I just thought it was quite fitting.”

The architecture of the building is different to most traditional bars you’d see. With the building split into two sections, Mcgowan wanted to change the extra dining space into something that could possibly help future artists in the area.

one of the Creative spaces by Buster Mantis PIC Feride Sahin

One of the creative spaces by Buster Mantis Pic: Feride Sahin

“It was just a no brainer. You could always have one area doing one thing and another doing the other thing.and  as far as the creative space is concerned it allows us to get a bit more interactive.

“I know from living around here, there will always be people who want to take on a space and do something with it but they might not have the means, the connections to take a permanent space.”

With the creative space launched recently, the bar and café have been open to customers to come and enjoy Jamaican food and drink, since this News Years Eve.

Mcgowan said: “Primarily we serve Jamaican food. Jamaican food that is quite accessible. The majority of the people you meet will have had jerk chicken but some might not have. We like to make food even though you wont know about it’s background, you’re open to try it.”

McGowan said that the most popular dishes in the café are the saltfish fritters and the jerk chicken, as well as their homemade rum punch.

McGowan is currently planning on events in the future that could bring the Deptford community together and said: “Deptford is a lively area; it has a rich culture and history. It has a strong identity; people are proud to be from Deptford. Historically the stories you hear about Deptford and its place in British history its phenomenal.”

“In the future we want to carry on in the same way we started. We’ve had really good feedback from people in the area who’ve said that this is what this area needs. Deptford needed a destination. I think they appreciate the fact that we’re coming from where their coming from as well.

“It means more to people from an area when they see one of their own doing it in their own area. I didn’t say I’m going to create a bar in Shoreditch. I wanted to stay where I’m from. We want to become a Deptford landmark. A place that serves its community, that everyone within this area, will know of us and feel happy to spend their time here.”

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