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G-A-Y Late announces closure “with great sadness”

Jeremy Joseph, the owner of queer venues G-A-Y and Heaven, has announced G-A-Y Late will shut down.

In a social media statement, Joseph said it was with “great sadness” that the venue had to be closed. He cited a number of reasons for the closure, also stating that he knew G-A-Y Late would be “the biggest challenge” to operate post-Covid.

Continuous building works, according to Joseph, has made running G-A-Y Late “too disheartening to continue”, calling it “a losing battle”. He also cited its location as another challenge, as the nearby development of St Giles and Denmark Street often blocks the entrance, fire exit, and queue.

He also cited customer and staff attacks as a safety concern, adding: “Despite so many attempts to get police to visit & support G-A-Y Late, there are no regular checks on the venue.” A lack of police officers has meant “it’s impossible to guarantee customer and staff safety.”

Joseph went on to say that running the venue had come “at a great cost to my own mental health,” saying: “It is simply not possible to run G-A-Y Late in its current location.”

On a positive note, Joseph also announced he had submitted plans to increase Heaven’s capacity to make up for G-A-Y’s loss, as well as making it wheelchair accessible. He closed by thanking customers and staff for making the bar “one of the most successful LGBT venues in the UK. This is something I’m very proud of & something that can never be taken away.”

The announcement is part of an increasing number of venue closures in the UK; a recent study claimed that 35 independent nightlife businesses are lost each week.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, has addressed the closure of G-A-Y Late, calling it “a profound loss for the LGBTQ community in the capital, as the venue has been a vital and cherished space for years.”

“The closure of G-A-Y Late underscores the fragility of businesses within the nightlife sector across the UK,” the statement continues. “This industry, which plays a crucial role in fostering diversity, inclusivity, and cultural expression, faces unprecedented challenges. The closure of such a significant venue is a stark reminder of the immense pressures businesses are grappling with, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Furthermore, Kill expressed “deep sadness over the impact this closure will have on the LGBTQ community, emphasizing the importance of safe spaces like G-A-Y Late as not just entertainment venues but as pillars of community, acceptance, and celebration of diversity.” He also highlighted “the need for concerted efforts to support and safeguard such spaces to ensure the continued vibrancy of the LGBTQ culture within the capital.”

“As we mourn the loss of G-A-Y Late, it is a call to action for policymakers, communities, and industry stakeholders to collaborate on initiatives that safeguard the future of nightlife establishments,” the statement continued.

Kill also urged for “a united front to address the challenges faced by businesses in the sector, emphasizing the integral role they play in the cultural fabric of the UK.”

“In this challenging time, the Night Time Industries Association remains committed to advocating for the resilience and sustainability of the nightlife sector, acknowledging the importance of preserving safe spaces that contribute to the rich tapestry of the LGBTQ community in London and beyond,” the statement concluded.

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