The London gay scene is suffering another loss as much-loved Shoreditch venue The George & Dragon is officially closing down.
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.
On Facebook, pub owner Richard Battye said: ‘It’s almost 13 years since we opened our doors and from pretty much that night we have been blown away with the amazing response and all the amazing things which have their origins inside Number 2 Hackney Road, a former Victorian boozer, squatted and turned into a shoe shop which we reboozerified back in 2002.
‘We are due to surrender our lease on Tuesday 1 December and a new owner will sign a new lease at the same time. We wish them every success.
‘They inherit good times, good memories and a whole lotta love. We move to a new venue as soon as possible, hopefully within the week.
‘The jungle drums are beating and from what we hear they’ve got it bang on.’
Many customers have 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.