Legendary Camden gay pub The Black Cap is officially reopening

After almost a decade of campaigning, Camden’s Black Cap pub is finally on the road to reopening.

New plans for the pub and cabaret space to return to its former glory as an LGBTQ hub complete with bed and breakfast-style quarters for staff and performers have been lodged at Town Hall.

Camden New Journal reports that activist Alex Green said: ‘Finally, we can say we are optimistic and the owners are really excited. It has been a massive win to have people sitting down round the table with the same aims – to get The Black Cap back in the way it should be.’

He added: ‘It has been a partnership. We have worked closely with Camden Council, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and done everything they possibly could for years.’

The pub shut in April 2015, just days after it was declared an Asset of Community Value by Camden Council. Its owners had made repeated unsuccessful attempts to develop the building into luxury flats. On the day of the pub’s closure, loyal punters and performers banded together and protested the loss of the queer hub and paraded through the streets of Camden Town. 

The pub dates back to the eighteenth century, became known as a gay pub in the 1960s, and became famous for its drag queen cabaret in the 1970s. Rex Jameson’s legendary Mrs Shufflewick drag persona was one of the venue’s most popular performers, and when Jameson died in 1983 the upstairs bar was named The Shufflewick Bar in their honour. In the 1980s The Black Cap saw regular performances from Paul O’Grady as Lily Savage. It would later host Drag Race stars such Bianca Del Rio and Trixie Mattel.

Activist Jamie Johnston has been part of a weekly vigil outside the venue, raising awareness. ‘It is a positive development and I hope the plans get a good response from public,’ he told the Camden New Journal.

Diva down! Iconic east London queer venue The Glory is closing.

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