London’s popular lesbian bar, the Candy Bar in Soho, is due to close its doors for the final time in January 2014.

Opened in the late nineties by lesbian entrepreneur Kim Lucas, the venue changed hands many times before being purchased in 2011 by Gary Henshaw of Ku Bar Group.

In a statement on Monday evening, Mr Henshaw said: “Running the Candy Bar for the last two years has been an amazing experience. But a 50% increase in rent and the current economic climate forced my hand. Candy has been sold to an outside investor and will cease to operate as a lesbian bar in January 2014.

“The next three months will be about celebrating and commemorating the unique legacy Candy Bar has played over its seventeen years on London’s gay landscape. Meanwhile I am working hard at bringing an alternative girls space to the heart of Soho.”

In 2011, Candy Bar was the subject of a Channel 5 fly-on-the-wall TV show.

The six-part series followed the lives of the Soho bar’s staff as well as featuring Mr Henshaw.

Ku Bar Girls at Ku Bar on Lisle Street is due to launch the week after Candy closes next year.