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Legendary Drag Bar The Black Cap Closes Down And Its Customers Are In Shock

London is in mourning after Sunday night's announcement that the Camden cabaret venue is shutting down. But no one is wearing black, because that would be drab.

Posted on April 13, 2015, at 9:49 a.m. ET

Gay people started going to The Black Cap in 1965, when homosexuality was still illegal. But it's existed since 1751, when it was called Mother Black Cap, after a local witch.

Michael Walter / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Camden's The Black Cap has now closed after 50 years as a gay bar.

As reports emerged of the closure, following months of uncertainty, some drag queens skipped the first three stages of grief and went straight to anger.

The Black Cap has reportedly shut down to make way for luxury flats. Lately it feels like London's soul is being ripped out by the fat cats.

It's understandable. Venues for LGBT people have been closing all over Britain. But this is the final straw for some. Michelle Visage is furious.

My heart is with my sister @Do_Meth and the family fierce. The Black Cap belonged to the community, but greed can't hold fierce down!

Other performers, like Rubyyy Jones, simply shared memories: "You were a first stage, a meeting place and a home to so many..."

Some have gone into denial. NOOOOOOOOOOOO this can't be happening ;(

Everyone else is sad and shocked and wondering what on earth is happening to London's gay scene.


The YA fiction author James Dawson is not coping with the news.

I’m SO ANGRY that The Black Cap has been closed. Between this and Soho there will be NO gay London left.

The comedian Tom Allen is gutted, too.

So sad to hear The Black Cap in Camden has closed!! Sight of so many fun - and some tragic - nights. First gay bar I ever felt at home in.

Even therapists are upset.

An vital crucible of the #LGBT community - The Black Cap in Camden sadly loses out to developers and closed yesterday after 50 years

As rumours swirl about this beacon of LGBT nightlife being replaced by flats, there's already talk of protests. After all, the icon that was Regina Fong used to perform there.

@michellevisage gurl, they can't close the cap, let's go chain ourselves to the bar and protest!

Regina Fong was The Black Cap. And some say the pub never fully recovered when she died in 2003.

View this video on YouTube

It wasn't just Regina, though. Some of Britain's greatest drag artists worked the stage there, including Lily Savage and Danny La Rue.

Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

Lily Savage performing


Danny La Rue onstage

More recently, stars of RuPaul's Drag Race Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano threw shade there, too.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Politicians are stirring up feeling, pointing to the possible price of the flats that some think could replace it.

@Widerife81 So we need to build affordable homes. Incidentally, none of the flats the Black Cap would be turned into would be affordable

(This isn't just any politician. London Assembly member Tom Copley was a dedicated patron of the pub.)

Devastated to hear the Black Cap has closed suddenly. Had so many great (and some less great) nights there. A big loss for Camden and London

But hope is not lost. Last week, Camden council turned down requests by the owners to turn The Black Cap into flats, and made it an "asset of community value" following an application from Nigel Harris, the director of the Camden LGBT Forum.

Local barrister Sarah Bourke told BuzzFeed News: "The 'asset of community value' status provides additional protection to certain buildings to stop them having their uses changed by developers. It slows down [any] change of use as the community should be given the opportunity to buy the asset."

This means the venue could still remain as a pub.

In the confusion and sadness, some people are just trying to stay positive. Like this guy.

It is v sad about the Black Cap but on a personal note I had a one-night stand with a barman from there and he never called so every cloud.

But the fact remains. The Black Cap has gone. The curtain has fallen.

The stage at The Black Cap. Now empty.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.