The bar, which is owned by Jonathan Downey, will reopen its doors today (17 July) for a final 10-week stint before it is forced to close for good.
In a letter to its members, Downey says that despite paying almost £4m in rent since he first signed the lease for the bar on Poland Street, the landlords are refusing to allow any rent-free or other reduced deal for the period it has been closed by Government order. "Their position has not changed in months. It looks like it never will," he says.
Milk & Honey has been a much loved and respected bar in London for almost two decades and has won numerous awards, including being voted the best bar in the world two years running by Drinks International magazine.
Downey says that at the end of September, when the current lease forfeiture moratorium expires, nine months of rent will be due and that he will not be able pay it. "As a result, our landlord will change the locks and repossess the premises," he writes, adding that the landlord has already issued court proceedings.
"For the last few months, I have been campaigning and lobbying Government to provide a national rent deal for hospitality tenants but so far we’ve seen nothing. This may change (and if it does we will let you know) but, for now, we have to accept and expect the worst."
Milk & Honey will be open from 6pm to 1am every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from next week onwards.
The letter ends: "Please come down to support us and to say goodbye to one of your favourite places to drink and hang out. Thank you for all your support over the last 18 years."
The news of the closure follows the announcement by Downey earlier in the week that Dinerama, the popular street food and bar venue in Shoreditch that Downey runs as part of his Street Feast venture, will close its doors for good on 26 September because he couldn't agree a rent deal with the landlord.
Like Milk & Honey, Dinerama will initially reopen and will trade on Fridays and Saturdays and every weekend until 26 September, when it will close for the last time.