Brighton’s oldest gay bar is up for sale for £1.1m, just months after it successfully avoided being closed by police because of concerns over violence and underage drinking.
Sussex Police requested a review of The Bulldog’s licence in August after a string of violent incidents connected to the late night St James’s Street bar, including a very serious sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl after she was ejected from the premises just hours after the pub failed a police-led under-age test purchase operation.
After months of wrangling, with both the police and the bar appealing new restrictions imposed by the council at court, a compromise was reached in March this year which allowed the Bulldog to remain open with shortened hours and tighter door policies, including an ID scanner.
But a combination of bad publicity and tighter security has led to customers deserting the venue, and now owner Dean Holmes says it’s time for someone else to take it over.
He said: “I deeply regret that I have had to put my business up for sale after running a highly successful gay business for nearly 20 years. The outcome of the recent police review has severely damaged my reputation and respect in the gay community.
“Due to months of bad press, and the damage I have done to my own reputation in a desperate attempt to save my threatened licence. I imposed extremely strict methods on my regular customers upsetting so many who used to enjoy the Bulldog‘s facilities on a daily and weekly basis.
“I am confident that under new ownership the bulldog can regain respect from its lost customers and thrive again as one of the longest running gay bars in the UK.”
The bar is being advertised for sale via Sidney Phillips for £1.1million. The listing describes it as a four-storey building with two trading floors and a three bedroom flat above located in a bustling area of Brighton.
It also says the well-known late night venue has the scope to increase thriving trade.