Iconic LGBTQ+ pub comes to market as operator plans to retire

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Legendary venue: James Lindsay has solely operated the Royal Vauxhall Tavern since 2014
Legendary venue: James Lindsay has solely operated the Royal Vauxhall Tavern since 2014

Related tags Property London Pubco + head office

Iconic Grade II-listed LGBTQ+ venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) in south London has been put on the market on a leasehold basis after its owner revealed retirement plans.

The culturally and historically significant venue, which reports an annual turnover of around £1.7m, has played host to a variety of resident drag and cabaret performers over the years.

These have included Paul O’Grady as Lily Savage and Jonathan Hellyer as The Dame Edna Experience.

The pub has been solely operated by James Lindsay since 2014 and has come to market on a leasehold basis.

A statement from Lindsay said: “After 20 years of stabilising and growing the RVT, it is with a very heavy heart John and I have made the decision that we are not the right people to continue running the RVT.

“We have decided to sell our business interest and have instructed agents to make this happen.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us, particularly our invaluable team.”

Incredible history

Night czar Amy Lamé shared her thoughts on social media, thanking Lindsay for his work at the pub.

She said: “Thank you for everything you’ve done to put the RVT at the heart of Vauxhall and London’s queer nightlife.

“[Sadiq Khan] and I look forward to working with the new operators and ensuring the RVT remains one of London’s best loved LGBTQ+ venues.”

In 2015, the pub became a listed building​ after architects said destroying it was ‘unthinkable’.

Christie & Co has been instructed to secure a new tenant for the pub​. Lindsay added: “The RVT has an incredible history and offers a diverse cultural calendar of events, with a healthy 12-month line up of confirmed cabaret, performance and club nights.

“While I’ve loved every minute of operating RVT, the time has come to retire so I have engaged Christie & Co to help us find a new custodian for the business."

Existing knowledge

He added: “Christie & Co has existing knowledge of the building and a history with the venue, having advised the landlord on the freehold advice, so it seems appropriate to retain that knowledge on advising on the leasehold interest and we look forward to finding a new operator to take over the venue with their assistance.”

Christie & Co associate director of London pubs and restaurants David Wilson is managing the sales process.

He said: “Christie & Co is absolutely delighted to bring to market this unique leasehold opportunity at the iconic RVT, which is only available due to James’ planned retirement.

“With an annual turnover in the region of £1.7m, this highly profitable venue is sure to attract interest from a variety of operators looking to ad a famous London pub business to their portfolio.”

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