News / 12 August, 2015

Shoreditch gay pub the George and Dragon slain by rent hikes

Owners say ‘dramatic’ rent increase has forced closure as another gay venue shuts on Hackney Road


George and Dragon on Hackney Road: Photograph: Google

The owners of a Shoreditch gay pub have announced it is closing following a “dramatic” rent hike.

The George and Dragon on Hackney Road opened in 2002 and has a large LGBTQI following.

It is the latest in a spate of gay pubs in and around the Hackney Road area which have been shut down or changed ownership.

In February 2014 iconic venue The Joiners Arms closed, although a campaign launched to save it successfully won the pub Asset of Community Value status.

The Nelsons’ Head off Columbia Road also closed down as a gay pub in February though the pub has since reopened under new management.

Owner Richard Battye said in a statement to his customers: “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.”

Charlotte Gerada, speaking on behalf of Friends of the Joiners Arms said the campaign was “incredibly saddened” to hear the pub was closing.

“It’s yet another victim of rapid gentrification in London that’s seeing important spaces for minority groups destroyed for the sake of maximum profit.

“With so few queer venues now in existence in the East End, politicians and local councils should be acutely aware of the detrimental impact the mass closure of queer venues and spaces is having on the health, safety and social well-being of their residents.”

/ 12 August, 2015
  • Anna

    Please do something to protect what made East London so great. If bars keep closing, the diversity that East London is celebrated for will become a stylised, commercialised memory.

  • Nick

    @ Anna

    What do you think should be done, and by whom?

    Your exhortation to “please do something” seems rather aimless.

  • Berto

    I have seen so many pubs and discos come and go but is it really that important to have a venue that is labelled for minorities like LGBT community? Today so many pubs in East LDN are so mixed and so open, one can feel very much at home.


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