Customers of oldest gay pub in Wales lose battle to save venue

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The oldest gay pub in Wales, Cardiff’s Kings Cross is to be closed and converted into a gastropub despite a campaign supported by gay rugby star Gareth Thomas to save it.

Mitchells and Butlers, the owners of the 137-year-old Kings Cross in Cardiff city centre have ignored a campaign led by Layton “Percy” Jones, who garnered the support of more than 2,000 locals to save the venue’s gay identity.

“The owners told us they intend to turn the place into a gastropub,” he told the South Wales Echo. “This place holds a lot of memories for a lot of people. It’s awful.”

Supporters of the campaign to save the gay venue included the gay former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas and the leader of Cardiff council, Rodney Berman who is openly gay.

Mitchells and Butlers spokesman Andrew Roache told the newspaper: “It is our intention to carry out a significant yet sympathetic refurbishment of the building, shifting its focus from a late-night drinking venue to a pub restaurant catering for customers throughout the daytime and evening.

“As the owners of the Kings Cross for many years we recognise the pub’s importance to its existing loyal customer base.

“We are aware that many people have fond memories of the Kings Cross, but it is clear the business is no longer sustainable as a late-night drinking venue.”

Mr Berman, the leader of Cardiff council told the South Wales Echo: “This is a unique venue with a long history in the city centre. have vociferously opposed the loss of this pub have appeared to fall on deaf ears.

“I also suggested that if the company decided they no longer wished to run the venue in its current guise because of a shift in focus to operating food-led businesses, then perhaps they should consider selling the business to someone who would recognise its value.

“I wrote to Mitchells and Butlers to urge them to reflect on the strength of feeling in the LGBT community against the review and asking them to reassure customers. It concerns me greatly that the council has invested in regenerating this area of the city but this decision sends out a message, even inadvertently, that a pub aimed at the gay community appears not to be welcome there.”