The London gay scene is set to face another loss as much-loved Shoreditch venue The George & Dragon is set to close.
Opened in December 2002, the East London pub has played host to a mixed scene with a big LGBTI following.
Despite seven years remaining on the lease, a recent increase in rent has forced the owners to put the pub up for sale.
Richard Battye, the pub owner, said on Facebook: ‘On Monday, following several fraught months, we put the lease for The George & Dragon up for sale.
‘Despite seven years remaining, a recent rent review has caused a dramatic increase in the cost of our lease and we don’t feel we can meet the payments and keep The George & Dragon as it is so we have decided, a little earlier than intended, that now is the time to wrap things up.
‘It is possible that someone out there may have the vision and the money to keep something of the spirit going – which would be a dream.
‘We will be looking for a new opportunity and hope very much that some of our dear G&D fans will be able to join us on this new journey soon.
‘We’ll try to be as open as we can throughout this process as we’d love as friends as possible to join us for a drink as we begin to bid farewell to our beloved old pub.’
Many customers paid tribute to the pub, with many crediting the venue with being among the first ‘anti-social clubs’ of Shoreditch.
One woman said: ‘This makes me so sad, I met my wife at the G&D a hot summer night in 2008. So many good memories.’
And another customer said: ‘You were my local for 10 years. Thanks for all the good nights.’
A number of gay bars have closed in London recently. The Black Cap, a historic gay pub in Camden, closed in April this year – although there is still a strong campaign to save it. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is also supposedly under threat.
Other pubs and clubs to close recently include Barcode, Candy Bar and Madame Jojo’s. Plans to redevelop The Yard, another gay bar in Soho, were scrapped in May.