‘Oldest LGBTQ+ pub’ in Brighton forced to close for good: ‘We are distraught’

A small white building with Bulldog writte above the door. The picture has been cut out and placed on a rainbow background

Bulldog Bar in Brighton, of Britain’s longest-running LGBTQ+ pubs, is set to close due to “excessive” costs.

Bulldog Bar, said to be the oldest LGBTQ+ pub in Brighton, has been open since 1979, but the owners say the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the cost-of-living crisis has forced its closure.

The Kemptown pub said in a statement on Facebook: “We are distraught to inform you all that we have had to come to a very sad and emotional decision.

“Due to what we have had to endure over the last four years or so – the pandemic and the current economic climate and excessive overheads we are having to maintain – we have decided that we have no option but to close the doors of the all new Bulldog Brighton.

“We are so proud of our achievements and what we have accomplished since taking over in 2018, refurbishing the venue, creating seven epic nights a week, building a fantastic team, and raising money for Brighton’s The Rainbow Fund charity.

“We are closing these doors with a heavy heart, but we are looking forward to the future with optimism and determination.”

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Patrons of the Bulldog Bar shared memories of the venue after the closure was announced, with one person saying: “The Bulldog has been my go to place for the last 22 years.”

They added: “You are always greeted with a warm welcome and made to feel like part of the family.”

Another said: “The Bulldog will be missed tremendously and leave a huge hole in St James Street.”

The Bulldog Bar was taken over by its current owners in 2018, after it was put up for sale in 2016 after police licensing issues.

The bar’s previous owner, Dean Holmes, told The Argus he listed the pub after a police review said it should lose its 24-hour licence.

“I deeply regret that I have had to put my business up for sale after running a highly successful gay business for nearly 20 years,” he said. 

“I am confident that under new ownership the Bulldog can… thrive again as one of the longest running gay bars in the UK.”

PinkNews has contacted Bulldog Bar for comment.