The redevelopment of Vauxhall and Nine Elms has resulted in inevitable speculation about the future of gay venues in the area. Possibly the single most historic and highly regarded venue in the area is of course The Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
It has been announced tonight that The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been sold to new owners, after incurring significant financial losses over the past few years.
The identity of the new owners has not been disclosed and is not yet known.
The venue will undergo an internal and external refurbishment with the 1st floor opened up as a champagne/wine bar.
Here’s an extract from a statement from the previous joint owner of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, James Lindsay, posted on the venue’s Facebook group.
As current joint owner of Royal Vauxhall Tavern, I am happy to respond and clarify the situation. RVT has been sold and I have been retained by the new owners to operate a new company trading as Vauxhall Tavern London Ltd.
This is the second time I have now personally stepped in to secure the future of RVT. Paul and I came together to save RVT from closure 9 years ago because of the passion we both shared about RVT.
We totally recognise, and I am extremely touched by, the way people regard and talk about the many friendships that have been built between people who have so loyally supported the business, which is a very touching and unique experience. Sadly, RVT has made substantial losses in recent years, which has been the driving force in the sale being necessary.
There were two very strong offers made to us. One would have seen RVT closed for immediate development. I forcibly resisted that offer, instead working with the new owners, who I believe understand, respect the history and culture of RVT. Now the challenge is to turn this business around with their support.
RVT will undergo a full refurbishment both internal and external, which will see the first floor being opened as a wine and champagne bar with a new toilet provision at first floor level. I hope that all of us who care about the future of the RVT will support this.
Uncertainty over the future of venues is never easy for their staff or loyal patrons but, unfortunately, is something of a fact of life today. We await further news of the new owners’ plans for the RVT with interest.