CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Black Cap could ‘re-open as cabaret venue and gay bar’ after progress in talks

A leaseholder is being sought who can restore the Black Cap to its former glory

25 August, 2017 — By William McLennan

The closure in 2015 sparked a mass protest that shut down Camden Town 

CAMPAIGNERS who have been fighting to save a historic gay bar in Camden Town say they are a step closer to victory after the owners agreed to re-open the nightspot as a “LGBTQ+ venue with cabaret performance at its heart”.

After months of negotiations, supporters of the Black Cap, which had been a keystone of the London LGBT community for more than 50 years before it was abruptly closed two years ago, said that they had reached an agreement with freeholder, Kicking Horse.

They will now work together to look for somebody to run a Camden High Street venue in keeping with the spirit for which it was widely loved before closing in April 2015.

Attempts to open a trendy cafe chain and then a family-friendly eatery at the site were seen off by campaigners, who feared an erosion of queer culture.

The Black Cap Foundation, which grew out of a street protest in the days after the closure, has been in talks with Kicking Horse and staff from the Greater London Authority’s “culture-at-risk team”.

Alex Green, director of the Black Cap Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled at this agreement. This is a crucial step towards our goal of reopening the Black Cap, and we welcome the cooperation of the freeholders and the support of Camden council and the GLA in making that a reality.

“We’ve always believed the Black Cap’s unique, irreplaceable legacy of community and culture is worth fighting for, and can’t wait to see how it will be reinvented next.”

Amy Lamé, who was appointed as London’s first Night Czar last year, said: “I would love to see the legendary Black Cap open for business again. Over the past decade, London has lost more than half of its LGBT+ venues and this must stop. The Mayor is clear that LGBT+ venues are a fundamental part of London’s vibrant nightlife and culture, and has tasked me with stemming the flow of closures across the city.

“My team and I have been able to work alongside the Black Cap Foundation community campaign group, Camden council and the venue owners Kicking Horse to work towards a resolution that will see this iconic venue throw open its doors once more.

“This announcement is a huge step forward. I hope a new leaseholder can be found swiftly and I can’t wait to work with them and join London’s diverse LGBT+ community in enjoying the unique atmosphere of the Black Cap.”

Interested parties are encouraged to contact Alex Green of the Black Cap Foundation on alex@loudandqueerly.com and Paul Tallentyre of Davis Coffer Lyons sales agent on ptallentyre@dcl.co.uk for further details.

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