London’s LGBTQ+ venue G-A-Y Late will shut down, its owner Jeremy Joseph has announced.
In a statement, Joseph – who also owns G-A-Y Bar and Heaven – said: “It is with great sadness that I’ve made the decision to close G-A-Y Late on Sunday December, 10. I know this will come as a shock to a lot of people and many loyal customers will feel saddened by this news. But the last few years have been extremely difficult, and when you read this, you will hopefully understand that even profit-making venues are at risk of closure caused by external pressures.”
Joseph revealed that he felt the G-A-Y Late venue would be the biggest challenge to continue following the COVID-19 pandemic, but decided to continue. However, lengthy building works, the development of the street surrounding the venue and increased security risks forced Joseph to reconsider.
“G-A-Y Late is a destination venue and that comes with its own street safety issues,” said Joseph. “As a result of sometimes being the only venue open late at night in the surrounding area it has led to customers and staff being attacked on their way to and from the venue. Despite so many attempts to get police to visit and support G-A-Y Late, there are no regular checks on the venue.
“Police are seriously understaffed, the fact is there are not enough police protecting Westminster and when you are a standalone venue it’s impossible to guarantee customer and staff safety once they leave the premises. Crime continues to be one of the biggest issues for LGBT venues, but even harder when you are a venue with no other venues around you.”
He added that Heaven’s capacity will be expanded, with plans to make the LGBT venue wheelchair accessible.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, expressed his regret over the closure of the venue. A statement read: “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. We urge a united front to address the challenges faced by businesses in the sector, emphasising the integral role they play in the cultural fabric of the UK.”