The central London cafe First Out is to close its doors after 25 years in business
London's lesbian and gay community is preparing for a bereavement. The First Out cafe, situated off Tottenham Court Road, is closing at the end of this month after 25 years in business. I had my first date there with my partner back in 1987, and have witnessed multiple cop-offs, breakups and full-blown gay dramas on its premises.
First Out joins the other casualties of the Crossrail development, the east-west rail link due to open in 2017, such as the famous Astoria Theatre. The cafe's owners say they are shutting up shop having failed to satisfactorily renegotiate the lease as the area undergoes redevelopment.
The venue was the first ever gay daytime venue, offering an alternative to the clubbing scene. "No one would immediately size you up when you walked in the door, so gay men would drop in without having to be done up in our finery," says Tony, a long-term regular. I often call in for a drink with friends, but avoid the food, it being a bit knit- your-own-organic-tofu-salad for me. The leaflets scattered around the place advertising flat shares in Hackney and classes on self-insemination can give it a 1970s lesbian-stereotype feel, but its warmth is palpable.
Complete article at Guardian : http://bit.ly/pbxZRg