Search

‘The end is nigh’ says Hackney LGBTQ+ venue owner after coronavirus curfew comes into force

PUBLISHED: 12:38 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:17 02 October 2020

The Glory is one of three LGBTQ+ venues which have received emergency fudning from City Hall but John says it's still not enough to keep them going. Picture: The Glory

The Glory is one of three LGBTQ+ venues which have received emergency fudning from City Hall but John says it's still not enough to keep them going. Picture: The Glory

The Glory

Despite recently receiving emergency funding, a well-known Haggerston gay pub may not be able to survive past March - it’s co-owner says the coronavirus curfew is the “death-nail” for many businesses like his.

The Haggerston gay pub's co-owner John Sizzle says they are only making 30 to 40 per cent of the businesses usual turnover and have been hit with significant losses after the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: The GloryThe Haggerston gay pub's co-owner John Sizzle says they are only making 30 to 40 per cent of the businesses usual turnover and have been hit with significant losses after the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: The Glory

The Glory is one of three LGBTQ+ venues which have received emergency funding from City Hall but co-owner John Sizzle says the venue, a pub famous for its cabaret and drag shows, cannot keep going without “some kind of intervention” from government or extra funding.

READ MORE: Transgender nuns, gay cabaret and the Poll Tax: History tour with a difference uncovers Hackney’s LGBT heritage

He told the Gazette: “It’s pretty horrendous.

“We’re among many people who have been hit severely by the ever changing restrictions, its been really tough.

The Glory before the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: The GloryThe Glory before the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: The Glory

“Financially we are currently down to about 30 to 40 per cent of our turnover. Its awful, it’s really bad now.”

The pub owner said that despite significant losses from the coronavirus showtdown in March, he and co-owner Jonny Woo managed to reorganise the business and it was turning a “small profit”.

John said it is too soon to see the extent of the losses caused by the curfew but that it has put his business into the negative.

“It’s terrifying,” he said. “It means the end is nigh. The curfew is the death-nail for businesses like ours.”

The Glory is know for its cabaret and drag shows. Picture: The GloryThe Glory is know for its cabaret and drag shows. Picture: The Glory

Though the pub owner understands the reasons behind the curfew, he said his establishment followed all the rules set out by government to keep people safe, adding that the curfew had the unwanted effect of “herding people” out onto the street in “clumps and clusters”.

READ MORE: Hackney Town Hall raises inclusive Pride flag for the first time in borough’s history

You may also want to watch:

“My thinking was that they should have just had lots more [Covid-19 secure] marshals dealing with venues that weren’t adhering to the staunch policies in place, and closed those down until they got them right.”

John says the recently introduced 10pm curfew is impacting the ability of late night businesses like  his to make a profit. Picture: The GloryJohn says the recently introduced 10pm curfew is impacting the ability of late night businesses like his to make a profit. Picture: The Glory

He thinks the funding from City Hall, given to LGBTQ+ Hackney venues Dalston Superstore and VFD as well, was a “nice thing to do” but says it doesn’t go far enough.

John is concerned about the impact losing safe spaces like the Glory could have on the LGBTQ+ community.

“There’s not enough venues like ours providing safe spaces for people to express themselves, to relax in, to grow up in, to develop community in and to get a foothold in a city like London.

“A lot of people travel to London to realise their true identities, express themselves and become functioning citizens. Places like ours are integral to give them that safe space to become contributors to society and also to develop a safe community for themselves,” said John.

READ MORE: Free talk therapy and support for Hackney LGBT people struggling during coronavirus lockdown

The government’s 10pm curfew for all pubs, bars and restaurants came into place on September 24 as a means of helping limit the spread of the virus.

London Assembly Member, Jenette Arnold OBE AM, said, in response to the emergency funding: “The impact of the pandemic on our arts and culture sector has been huge, and if left unchecked, it will not only lead to more job losses, but threaten the social fabric of our capital.

“This is a very positive intervention from City Hall, providing a lifeline to LGBTQ+ venues in our community which provide a safe space for thousands of Londoners.

“It is crucial that these venues are given the tools to both survive the difficult months ahead and thrive again in the future.”

The Glory will be celebrating Black History Season in October with a series of brand new work, interviews, cabaret and film from some of London’s leading black queer artists.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has been contacted for comment.

For more information visit www.theglory.co/


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hackney Gazette