It’s our first High Street Update of 2015 so get ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll experience the deep joy of a life-affirming message of hope. But most of all you’ll probably just tut and roll your eyes.

SPOILER ALERT: This article reveals details of shops that are opening and closing in Twickenham.

Smokin! We’re all going flaming BBQ bonkers in TW1. What do you mean you didn’t know that? Well, assuming you’re not lying, you’re about to find out now. The former Hobgoblin / Grand Union pub on London Road is becoming a branch of Blue’s Smokehouse. It’s due to open in late February or early March and bills itself as an “Authentic American BBQ” selling ribs, burgers and the like. There’s already one in Bracknell which has generally favourable reviews on TripAdvisor. Across the street from Blue’s, the Twickenham Wimpy is no more. It’s gone. Finito. It’s being replaced by a Steers burger joint. Steers sounds a bit more macho than good old British ‘Wimpy’ although both chains are owned by the same company, South African giant Famous Brands. Famous who?

Further up London Road, on the corner of Arragon Road, another pub that’s had more incarnations than it’s served pints is getting a comprehensive re-fit by its new owners. The former Rugby Tavern / London Road Bar / Coady’s etc. will re-open as The Shack 68, a bar and ‘smokehouse’. In fact you might even have seen the separate smoking smokehouse bit out the back. It should do well with rugby crowds. Is there a World Cup on the way by any chance? There surely is.

And finally on the carnivore’s tour, the former Ales & Tails Bar on York Street is being turned into a Chicago Rib Shack. There are already other branches dotted around the UK with the Twickenham edition set to open in March. Here at HQ we like the look of their American breakfasts.

Yogocrush on King Street has closed. Alas, it didn’t last long. Less than a year. Perhaps the market for frozen yoghurt in Twickers proved to be less lucrative than the market research suggested. Perhaps the town was just not ready for another dedicated retailer of frozen dairy products so soon after the shortlived Yummies and Shhhakes. Or maybe there were other reasons. Either way, that’s another shop on King Street that needs to be filled.

Halfords on King Street has shut its doors!!! It’s being replaced by a new Halfords. OK, so it’s not a Halfords Halfords but rather one of their new Cycle Republic branches. OK, so Cycle Republic is not actually new either but that’s not the bloody point. The point is that Halfords used to have Bike Hut and Cycle Republic shops which they wound up a few years ago but since Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish have helped turn cycling into the new golf, they have decided to get back into that market. It’s a big store so they’ll need to crank things up if they’re going to shift a lot of gear. (Did you see what we almost succeeded in doing there?)

Cycle Republic, King St
Cycle Republic, King St

After Bathrooms4All on York Street became Bathrooms4None, we’ve waited a long time to see that space re-occupied. It’s now being refurbished and, apparently, is set to become a branch of Bensons for Beds. Where bathrooms failed, will beds succeed? Are the great twickerati more interested in sleeping than personal hygiene? Only you know the answer to that one and we’re not sure we want to hear it.

Fans of frittering their money away can take heart! When Reels ‘amusements’ closed there was a definite gap in the market for places to push coins into machines with flashing lights on them. That problem has now been rectified. Casino Gold have opened a branch in, wait for it, the old Reels place. Plus ca change, eh? Bleep, bleep, ching. Game over.

Two new restaurants on Heath Road that we mentioned last time are now up and running. Chuba Rasa – in the old Standard Tandoori place – serves Malaysian and other Asian food. Over the road, Sapori Siciliani / Flavours of Sicily (in the former restaurant of a thousand names) is, as you can probably tell, an Italian place specialising in Sicilian food. Have you been to either? Let us have your reviews.

And in other news…
The Twickenham Indoor Community Market which was operating at Mac’s Diner on Mondays and Tuesday is currently inactive pending finding a new venue. Meanhwile Mac’s Diner will launch comedy evenings on 26th March. Heavenly Dish have closed their cafe on Heath Road although they’re still operating their catering business from their Colne Road base. And we’re still waiting on more details of the food emporium / deli that’s supposed to be moving into the old Langton’s shop on Church Street. A decent deli there might do well we reckon.

And that concludes this edition of High Street Update. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this item or need more information on them, then help is available by checking the twickerati website for updates on a regular basis.