One of London’s most iconic and best-loved gay bars could return after being closed down for luxury flats
Once tucked away between a pharmacy and a supermarket, the Black Cap was a cornerstone of queer nightlife in North London.
That is, until owners shuttered its wooden doors in 2015 becoming one of several casualties of a wave of queer venue closures in the English capital.
But hope is on the horizon for the creaky bar, which once housed drag nights on the daily, as a campaigner and Green Party member has said there is a window of opportunity to save the pub.
Green Party politician claims community buy-out of historic Black Cap could save it from flat redevelopment.
“The owner kept trying to sell it off for luxury flats but he has pretty much accepted defeat now and is selling off the building,” said Polanski, one of the Green Party’s top three London Assembly candidates, in a press release.
“If we can raise the money we might finally be able to put in a bid to keep the Black Cap as the amazing space for everyone it always was – gay, straight, just a beautiful, diverse mix of people where everyone was welcome.”
Polanski, a gay Jewish man, was once a regular at the Black Cap since moving to the neighbourhood around a decade ago.
The bar has been open as an LGBT+ venue since the 1960s.
Owners Faucett Inn flip-flopped on flogging the place for years, but Camden Council officials closed it finally in 2015 The Independent reported.
It came after owners tried and failed to gain permission from the council to redevelop the area above the venue three times since talks began in 2011 to convert it into luxury flats.
Owners tugged and pulled with officials, but the sell was awarded an asset of community value by the council. Giving the venue an added layer of protection from being sold and redeveloped.
Nevertheless, it brought an end to the historic cabaret space, where patrons were once served while homosexuality itself was criminalised.
‘It’s really horrendous to have to say this, but hate crime is clearly on the rise,’ says London Assembly candidate.
Polanski, the Green Party’s Cities of London and Westminster general election candidate, stress that the need for queer safe spaces in London is needed as hate crimes rockets.
“It’s really horrendous to have to say this, but hate crime is clearly on the rise,” he said.
“After I was on [LBC‘s Julia Hartley-Brew Show] there was a torrent of homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse levelled at me.
“I think that really shows there is still a need for safe spaces where people can meet up and not be afraid of attacks.
“The Black Cap was one of those spaces.
“Whether we can get it re-opened as a drag cabaret space, an LGBT community space or a health centre, the LGBT+ community still really needs it.”
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