Craig and Leon | Kent Online | 17068
The Queen Anne in Maidstone, Kent, has been a gay pub for many years but the new proprietors are a gay couple who have renovated the pub into a pub for the whole wider community, hopefully to enable the pub to survive.
Craig Burns remembers the Sittingbourne Road venue as the beating heart of Maidstone’s lesbian, gay community when he and his husband Leon used to drink there a few years ago. He said: “This is quite a nice challenge for us. A number of people have come and gone over the past few years and the pub and community need some stability. We used to drink here quite a lot when Ricky and Darren were in charge. It was thriving then and we want to make it the heart of the gay community in Maidstone again but are opening the doors for everyone.”
Faucet Inn, the pub chain which closed the Black Cap in Camden is in talks to buy the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Faucet Inn owns 11 bars in London, confirmed it was hoping to buy the Grade II listed gay pub from its Austrian owners.
A two-year campaign led by Amy Lamé and Sir Ian McKellen, Graham Norton and Paul O’Grady tried to save it as a gay pub. Only recently Lambeth council awarded the pub “sui generis” classification, giving it further protection and prohibiting the top floors from being turned into flats.
Immovate is trying to sell a controlling interest of shares in the holding company, rather than the building. This means that the pub’s ownership can be transferred without triggering Asset of Community Value legislation which would give the community time to raise funds to buy it.
Steve Cox, Faucet Inn’s managing director, said talks with Immovate were in the “early stages” and that it was conducting “due diligence”. He said: “If we did acquire the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, we would invest in the premises and look to improve the existing operations.”
Napoleons, thought to be the oldest gay nightclub in Manchester, might be about to close its doors for good after the owners put the venue up for sale for £800,000.
The current owners, Anne and Melvin Taylor, have run the club for nearly 30 years, after buying it from Frank Foo Foo Lammar in December 1972. They also own Cruz 101 on Princess Street.
One of London’s longest established gay pubs is to close next month.
The Queen’s Head in Chelsea will close for good after the pub’s operators failed to agree terms on a new lease with landlords.
The pub has served London’s gay community for at least 60 years.