As East London chews over the recent closure of The Vibe Bar, news has just broken that The Joiners Arms, Shoreditch's long standing and much loved gay venue, is being forced to shut it doors. According to Gay Star News,
"The management of the Joiners Arms on Hackney Road, Shoreditch, has been informed that its current lease, which expires on 15 January 2015, will not be renewed."
"David Pollard, the publican who re-launched the venue as a gay bar in 1997 and has run it ever since, told GSN that a development company is planning to demolish the venue and build flats on the site."
Pollard is then quoted as telling the paper,
"The Joiners Arms has won renown as a friendly, safe and welcoming venue. We were – and remain – the very first pub to sign up to the Living Wage as a minimum for all its staff, which means everybody is paid about £2 more per hour than the legal minimum wage"
"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."
The Joiners has long been an icon of Hackney nightlife, gay or straight. This scribe is one of the many who've beaten a path to its bright lit doors in search of some late night shenanigans, where the combination of disco music, a decent pool table, drinkers, divas, dancers and freaks made the venue an oasis of good times in an otherwise grim stretch of road. As the developers move in, and another milestone of East London closes, the future for our capital's nightlife is once again put in question. Who is our city for? A handful of mega-rich blow-ins who can afford the monstrous prices of luxury flats, or the people who bring life, colour, identity and meaning?