United Kingdom

‘First Out,’ London’s oldest gay cafe announces it will be closing


LONDON — First Out Cafe — Central London’s oldest gay cafe — announced it would be closing in two weeks, one of several businesses affected by the development of the Crossrail rail network, reported the BBC.

When it opened in 1986, First Out Cafe was the city’s first daytime gay venue, offering an alternative to the club scene.

It began as an attempt to bring European cafe culture to London, giving the city’s gay community the opportunity to socialize in an open environment.

Director Maria Tejada said it provided “a safe place for people to be themselves, without any fear”.

“Lots of people say it was a haven,” she said.

“It was a place where they felt totally relaxed. They felt welcome.”

She said many people made friends or met their first partners there, and for others “it was part of their growing up.”

“It’s definitely a loss to the gay community,” cafe regular Ana Kazaroff, told the BBC.

The cafe will close on Ocotber 29.

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