North London Food & Culture

Why the Black Cap must still reopen as an LGBTQ venue

Join in this weekend's protest featuring songs and performance to mark the third anniversary of the Camden bar's closure

This weekend it’s unbelievably the third anniversary of the Black Cap’s closure in April 2015 – and there’s a two-hour protest to mark the occasion.

As campaigners still can’t hold events inside, singers and supporters will instead perform songs and tributes outside to celebrate the past and future of the legendary venue, which has been a cultural home to LGBTQ+ community and its allies for 60 years.

And the rising number of #WeAreTheBlackCap campaigners, who are trying to save and reopen the iconic pub (its beautiful gabled exterior is admittedly looking rather ragged), are angry. Understandably so.

“We feel that its continued closure after three years is an insult to the people of Camden, and in particular the LGBTQ+ community who for six decades had called the pub a safe place and centre of popular entertainment,” says Alex Green, campaign spokesperson. “And yet, the Black Cap standing sad and empty may not look like a win, but the fact that it is not lost to over-priced flats and a generic coffee shop is testament to the thousands of people who are saying ‘I don’t think so’.”


A beautiful gabled building with an important history: the Black Cap before it shut. Photo: Stephen Emms

As readers may know, the tide is turning this year against the legions of property developers, with several pubs being recently saved including the nearby Good Mixer, and The Oxford in Kentish Town.

What can you do to help? Well, Green says they have concocted a plan to “bring the actual pub mortgage lenders to the negotiating table”, while also renewing engagement with Camden Council and City Hall; furthermore they hope to build a consortium of “community and business partners” who’ll push for the correct takeover.

He also encourages you to join this weekend, or if you can’t make it, one of the other regular Saturday protests. You could also show your support at the Not Another Night at the Cap cabaret show on 2nd May at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

“We stand firm, despite the continued frustration of trying to work with the owners to get the venue re-opened,” says Alex. “We’ll stop the Black Cap becoming yet another sterile, overpriced food outlet or unaffordable flats. Its continued closure is very bad for the LGBTQ+ community, not to mention the borough of Camden’s reputation as a leader in terms of diversity, arts and culture.”

He said it.

Take part this Saturday, 14th April, in the 3rd anniversary protest at The Black Cap, Camden High Street NW1. Follow @wearetheblackcap for more

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