London’s iconic gay pub the Black Cap to be converted into a café
London’s iconic Camden gay pub the Black Cap is set to be converted into a café, after closing down earlier this year.
The London’s pub was built in 1889, and was one of London’s oldest continually operating LGBT venues, after it became popular with gay men in the 1960s.
However, the Black Cap pub closed its doors in April after a battle over a proposed redevelopment which lasted several months.
The plans for the future of the building have since be shrouded in mystery, with protests to ensure its future as a gay venue.
Twelve squatters occupied the site earlier this month – but it has today been revealed that the potential new owners plan to lease it to café chain Breakfast Club.
In a comment piece for the Kentish Towner, Breakfast Club founder Jonathan Arana-Morton made the revelation, writing: “The truth is we (and I) have been wanting to say something for a while. I’ve been watching the #wearetheblackcap campaign from afar.
“That we haven’t said anything is down to the fact that we still don’t know whether we will be the next incumbents of The Black Cap. There is a lot going on we have no control over and a huge amount of uncertainty.
He wrote: “Last December we were approached by an agent on behalf of Camden Securities, the potential new landlords about a venue on Camden High Street. The owner Faucet Inns was closing it down and selling the building on.
“This is something that needs to be stressed – the decision to close the venue was made a long time before ourselves or Camden Securities got involved. You can form your own opinions on whether this closure was done in the right way. We have ours.
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“We’d been looking for a venue in Camden for a while. We said yes, exchanged contracts with Camden Securities to take up the lease on the ground floor and basement when and if they completed on the property.
“As I have said, we don’t know how this is all going to pan out. There’s a group currently occupying the building called Camden Queer Punx 4eva.
“On top of this, nobody seems to fully understand the implications of the Asset of The Community Value that was granted a long time after we’d signed the contract to take the lease on part of the pub. We are in the crossfire, but legally bound to a contract to take over the pub when the sale to Camden Securities goes through.”
However, he added: “We run cafés and bars not drag venues, I wouldn’t want to patronise anyone by saying we could for one second fill the gap that is being left by the closure of The Black Cap.
“But we will run by many of the same principles adopted by The Black Cap – a place that puts itself at the heart of the community, that welcomes everyone through its doors.”
It is unlikely to appease the squatters or campaigners, who have long insisted the pub’s closure was part of the “gentrification” of Camden.