Another year begins and another Twickenham High Street Update lands on your virtual doormat. You bend down to pick it up with feeling of dread tempered with a hint of mild anticipation. Who’s opened, who’s closed and who, saints preserve us, is going to try their luck with a new cafe?

In December Twickenham bade farewell to Max Sports after many years of loyal service to the town in the provision of sporting equipment. Rather than renew the lease on the shop, Malcolm the owner decided to up sticks and retire to New Zealand. It was a bit of a case of, “So long and thanks for all the trainers!”

Yay, let’s talk kitchens. Again. It’s not that long since Twickenham Designs opened on Heath Road for all your new kitchen requirements. Guess what? We’ve now got a second new kitchen shop on that road. And in this case there’s no need to settle for a crap kitchen when you could get yourself a totally Schmidt one. The Germans name suggests something reassuringly solid and expensive but we’ve no further information on that front – the twickerati HQ’s kettle & dodgy microwave only need a couple of plug sockets and will just have to suffice for another year or two. After all, a Cuppa Soup’s a Cuppa Soup however fancy your kitchen worktop might be.

Your Schmidt, ahhhh.
Your Schmidt, ahhhh.

A Games Workshop has opened on Church Street. They’re the Warhammer figurine people. We have to say we’re not entirely sure what’s involved with this whole malarky – something to do with trolls and warrior wizards – but boys of a certain age seem to like it, so good luck to them. It’s nice to see the former Dapper shop now occupied and open once more. In fact, there were plans in for a café there but it never materialised and after all, it’s not like we’re short of places for a hot beverage or two.

Games Workshop, Church Street
Games Workshop, Church Street

Talking of cafes, Café Taste just outside Twickenham station, has closed. Yep, another short-lived venture into Twickenham’s café society bites the biscotti. We’ve not actually got any further café news to report, which is highly unusual, although Fornetti “mini bites” that we mentioned last time around is now fully open. Meanwhile Lakksa Thai restaurant on Heath Road is having a ‘refurb’ that’s taking a suspiciously long time – several months in fact. Ditto Cafe Coffee Day. And nearby, the Blah Blah Blah vegetarian restaurant has a closed until further notice sign up. #ominous

Back in Church Street, The Eel Pie pub is closed for a refurb. It’s going to re-open in February. It’s a good pub so fingers crossed that they do a good job. We’d also heard that some kind of hotel may get built behind it. Want more pub news? On Staines Road, The Prince Blucher is also currently closed for a makeover with a re-opening planned for February. And would you believe it… cue drumroll… The Koyote Bar was showing some signs of life recently – that’s right, we’re talking about the place that’s had more name changes over the years than it’s served pints of beer. Could it become Twickenham’s hottest (and most short-lived) new venue, again? El Brute’s planning pages suggest that it’s work to improve the sound insulation linked to making the upper floors residential. We’re still not sure who’s going to take on the challenge of turning this venue into a profitable business but, to update this article based on the comments added, it sounds as if it could be a Haart estate agents. Whoopy do. We’ve also heard on Twitter that The Royal Oak on the corner of Oak Lane and Richmond Road is now closed (there are rumours of a change of ownership).

Koyote Bar (still not open)
Koyote Bar (still not open)

Pizza Rizzo on York Street looked to have potential but never really got off the ground. If that sounds familiar then it’s because its predecessor in that location, Din’s Grill, went pretty much the same way. Perhaps they’d just not spotted the Pizza Express opposite or the Zizzi just a few doors down. We hear the next iteration could have a Japanese theme to it.

Khan Communications? Mean anything to you? You know, the place that opened on York Street in the spring of 2013 selling mobile phone accessories. No? Surely you do! The kind of place that sold stuff that people generally buy online? No? Ah forget it! Anyway, guess what? It’s now closed.

Theatre? In Twickenham? Yes, you heard that right. Of course we already have the Mary Wallace Theatre, home to the Richmond Shakespeare Society, but now another venue is being developed. It’s going by the name of the Twickenham Theatre and is upstairs at the London Road Bar at 68 London Road (formerly The Rugby Inn, Coady’s, the Garryowen and more). The plan is to create a flexible theatre space for a range of productions from plays to music to films to cabaret. Sounds interesting.

In other news…
Jo McLaren Formal Wear has hit the road. Rather than renew the lease on the Waldegrave Road shop they’ve gone all flexible, mobile and online which could make it easier for the gentlemen of the borough to get fully togged up for that all important special occasion. Meanwhile, down the road in St Margarets there’s a new venture called Cherry Vintage Home providing home furniture and furnishings. Worth a look? And in Strawberry Hill, Bradley Smith Hair & Beauty has opened in what used to be the McDowells grocery store on Tower Road.

We’ve also heard on Twitter that Monica Boxley might be closing her Church Street shop in the summer – if true, that would be a real shame for the town.

A Giraffe restaurant has opened at the huge Tesco Extra near the Twickenham stadium. Tesco bought the chain last year and whilst a visit might possibly ease the pain of your giant supermarket shop, we reckon it’s likely to be busiest on rugby days. After all, some of those rugby fans do look a bit like big game hunters. And sticking with Tesco, their Tesco Express in St Margarets is closed for a few weeks for a refurb. Time to explore other retailers in the area perhaps?

And finally… we’ve been tipped off to the planning application to convert the former Citizens Advice Bureau at 55-61 Heath Road into an auction house The plans come from High Road Auctions who already have one up and running in Chiswick. You can see the planning application here. The concept? Sell stuff, buy stuff, and guess what, have a drink and a bite to eat in their cafe. A cafe! Hurrah! Will it work here? You never know, it might well do.

That’s all for now. Go away, have a wander around your town. And maybe buy something.