First Out Cafe, London's oldest gay
cafe, is set to close in two weeks.
Offering an alternative to London's gay
nightclub scene, First Out opened 25 years ago in the city's
fashionable Soho district. The business included an urban cafe
upstairs and a bar downstairs.
In a statement posted at the cafe-bar's
website, its owners said the decision to close was not made lightly.
“This decision comes after the failure of protracted lease
negotiations as the area around the cafe bar undergoes intense
“For a quarter of a century, the cafe
bar has served as a touchstone for literally thousands of young
people coming out in London. First Out is where you met new friends,
got your first job, prepared for Pride and, more often than not,
found your first girlfriend or boyfriend.”
Ana Kazaroff, a cafe regular from
Argentina, said the closure was “a terrible loss for the city.”
“I personally don't think I will come
to central London so often now, because other places around here are
not so friendly,” Kazaroff told the BBC.
“It's definitely a loss to the gay community.”