Historic bar Queen’s Head closes without the money to pay its lease

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A gay bar in London announced it will close its doors in September, the latest in a wave of similar closures affecting the community.

The Queen’s Head in Chelsea, said to have served gay customers for over 50 years, has posted on Facebook it has been forced to close.

The message suggests the latest lease on the building has increased beyond the pub’s means and doesn’t reflect fewer customers coming in.

“Unfortunately, it’s true, the Old Lady of Tryon Street will be closing her doors for the last time on September 6.

“We’ve been unable to come to reasonable terms for renewal of the lease on the building with our landlords and therefore we’ll be shutting up shop.”

They hinted the team could relocate. “The Queens Head will be back in some form or another but the place that we all know and love will cease to be.

“We’re bloody gutted,” a staff member said.

A farewell party will take place on the 3rd of September.

Stoneage Pub Company, which manage the pub, said: “We will be vacating the property 13th September.

“We are currently looking to relocate staff to other suitable venues within the business. It is at the landlord’s discretion as to future plans for the property”

Chelsea is one of the most expensive areas in London, but property prices across the city have been increasing and pushing out longstanding businesses.

LGBT venues have been especially hard hit over the last few years. Bar Code, Black Cap, Escape, George & Dragon, the Joiners Arms, Madame Jo Jo’s and the Richmond Arms have all shut.

Only this week, however, The Yard, a well-known bar in Soho, central London, resisted a bid from a developer.

Special protections have been extended to the Vauxhall Tavern – an LGBT cabaret venue. In 2015, the pub in South London was designated a Grade II listed building, and newly elected London mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to protect it.