Beloved gay bar forced to close permanently blames Boris Johnson for crippling its business
Eden Bar in Birmingham’s Gay Village says it is closing down as a result of England’s tier two COVID-19 restrictions and financial damage.
Eden has been a go-to for the Birmingham LGBT+ community for nearly 13 years.
But sadly, owners Garry Prentice and Cal Eden have announced the bar will ring last orders for the final time on Saturday night (October 24).
The pair explained that despite trying everything to keep the bar open, it was impossible due to tier two rules as well as the financial loss they have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like many small businesses, 2020 has stretched Eden beyond belief,” they said in a Facebook statement posted Thursday (October 22).
“A reduced capacity to 25 per cent then further reduced to 10 per cent under region tier two, heavy staff costs due to the ongoing changing government guidelines, the recent 10pm curfew and an imminent region tier three lockdown, has meant we have decided to bite the bullet, making this drastic commercial decision.”
It was meant to be a ‘bumper year’ for an LGBT+ Birmingham bar. Then the coronavirus struck.
Eden Bar’s owners had thought that 2020 would be a promising year. Their diary was packed with events, including a mammoth street party during Pride weekend which would have seen all of Lower Hurst Street shut off.
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However Birmingham bars – along with the rest of England’s – were given strict rules to abide by following lockdown, which were tightened as the region entered tier two. There is much speculation it will soon enter tier three, which would see bars that cannot operate as restaurants closed.
“Instead of this anticipated bumper year,” the statement continued, “each week we have had to inject finance into the business in order to stay afloat, despite adapting to the ‘new normal’, being at full capacity and having to refuse entry.”
Prentice and Eden have also been working on opening another gay bar next year. The new venue, Sherlock’s in Blackpool, is still set to go ahead.
The pair hope that Birmingham won’t see the last of Eden and are hopeful to return in the long term.
“It has always been our long term plan to find alternative premises, therefore, once the pandemic calms, we will be taking active measures, looking for other premises in Birmingham, which we feel would be suitable for a ‘New Eden’.”