Queer Emporium says new cocktail bar ‘will compromise the safety of our customers’

An LGBTQ+ retail store in Cardiff has criticized the decision to grant a premises license to a popular London cocktail bar which is due to open next door. The Queer Emporium on St Mary Street today issued a statement on its social media platforms expressing its strong opposition to the opening of the Blame Gloria cocktail bar across the arcade.

The bar was granted a premises license by Cardiff Council last week, despite concerns from some members of the public that having a bar where people drink during the day next to the Queer Emporium could threaten its position as a ‘space safe” for people, especially young people, in the LGBTQ+ community. You can read more about the council’s decision here.

The Queer Emporium statement reads: “As some of you may know, an English chain bar aimed at the bachelorette party market is opening next door to the Queer Emporium. We have always known that something would open up next to us but, as detailed in this article, we were really hoping it wasn’t that and hoped that Cardiff council would see the protection of a space that has so many gay children and d other marginalized parts of our community who walk through its door as more important than the big daytime drinking establishments.

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Yan White, who established the Queer Emporium at the Royal Arcade, Cardiff

He continued: “We all want to reassure you that we will continue to fight this space and I am doing what I can, but at the end of the day we are up against a big company with lawyers in London and we are a small non-profit organization that started as a pop-up.” The company behind Blame Gloria, Adventure Bar Group, is the same company behind other popular venues, such as Tonight Josephine – of which there is a branch in Cardiff – Adventure Bar and The Escapologist.

Blame Gloria, which advertises events and offers like bottomless brunches, already has channels in Clapham Junction, Covent Garden and Bristol. The Queer Emporium statement continues: “I have approached the bar directly to seek a compromise, but, at this time, we appear unable to reach an agreement that we believe would not compromise the safety of our clients.

“I want to be clear: we are taking issue with the licensing decision and not with the staff or performers of Tonight Josephine or Blame Gloria. I believe that the protection of people, especially children, should be a priority for the board. , as is their legal obligation. . You wouldn’t put a bar next to a Build-a-Bear so why put it next to us?”

A Poppleston Allen lawyer, James Anderson, who represented Adventure Bar Group at the June 7 public meeting tried to reassure those affected at the time by saying the bar is “essentially an evening operator” which would open as soon as lunchtime on Saturday and from 4:30 or 5 p.m. on weekdays. He said he didn’t think the bar would be at odds with the community and pointed to the nightclub, Mary’s, which is near the Queer Emporium.

At the meeting, he also added, “Mary’s, which is an award-winning LGBT+ venue, is across the street from us, so respectfully, it can’t be that bad if a venue, which really specializes in offering to this community, is in front of the same Safe spaces and mental health are of course things that we take very seriously, but we do not believe that having a space where young people can go out and have fun is in contradiction with sanity and, respectfully, we think it’s a good thing for people to be able to go out, have a drink, eat, maybe be entertained and have fun.”



Blame Gloria is set to open on St Mary’s Street in Cardiff



What the interior of Blame Gloria might look like

A Cardiff Council spokesman said: “The Licensing Sub-Committee heard this application and acknowledged the concerns of those who made representations, but felt that no evidence had been presented that the granting the application would jeopardize the promotion of any of the four licensing objectives, including The applicant had agreed to certain additional terms proposed by South Wales Police as part of the consultation process.

“Where there is no evidence provided that a premises license will compromise the objectives of the licence, there is a presumption to grant the application. If there is evidence that a licensed establishment is undermining the aims of the licence, the Licensing Act 2003 allows anyone to request a review of the establishment’s licence. Adventure Bar Group said it would not comment at this time.

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