We were deeply saddened to hear that legendary gay pub the Joiners Arms on Hackney Road will be forced to shut in January 2015. According to a statement on the pub’s website, the management have been told that the current lease, which ends on January 15, won’t be renewed and that a development company is planning to demolish the venue to build flats. After winning a battle over their licence with Tower Hamlets Council earlier this year, this comes as a massive blow to anyone who has ever ventured behind the abattoir-style plastic curtains and had the pleasure of a great night drinking, dancing and merrymaking.
Landlord David Pollard, who re-launched the pub in 1997 as a gay bar, has been looking for somewhere nearby to move in Shoreditch or Hackney and said of the closure: ‘We have been looking for new premises for some months, so far without success. We are still searching. If you know of any premises which may be suitable, please let us know – or if you have any other ideas, get in touch. Our motto of Life Love Liberty has been an accurate description of what this Tardis of a pub has been about and which we intend to promote in another property.’
Many will mourn the closure of this welcoming and inclusive venue, especially after the closure of First Out and the Candy Bar and with the recent news that the future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern may be uncertain. Ex-Time Out LGBT editor Paul Burston will be one of many Londoners sad to see the Joiners close: ‘I was very fond of the Joiners. It was the venue that led the development of the gay village in the East End, and had a strong community ethos. I’ll be sad to see it go, not least because I’m featured on a mural on the wall!’ You can spot him top left near Oscar Wilde, of course.
Find out more at thejoinershoreditch.com.