CMYK had been opened just over a year when pandemic forced closure
Troy Le Page has perfomed as Monroe Adams at CMYK since it opened. Picture: Troy Le Page
March 29, 2021
Just nine days after celebrating its first birthday, Wimbledon’s first LGBT+ bar had to close with little notice when the first national lockdown was announced.
Since then, CMYK Bar has only been able to open a handful of times in the past year.
Troy Le Page only took over as manager in January 2020 and had big plans for events throughout the year.
But since March last year it has only been able to open for about two nights a week over three months last summer. Troy says even then they were losing more money than they were making with social distancing and table service meaning that they had far fewer customers and more staff were needed.
The 24-year-old estimates the venue has lost more than £600,000 over the past year.
He said, “I had all these plans for the year, then March came along. We are primarily a late night venue and nightclub, we make most of our revenue as a club not a bar.
CMYK Bar manager Troy Le Page is urging people to support independent venues when they reopen this year. Picture: Troy Le Page
“Having everything as table service was really difficult for us and when they added the 10pm curfew it was even harder.”
When the pandemic first struck the bar in The Broadway was forced to let six members of staff go.
“It was awful, absolutely awful,” said Troy.
“They couldn’t qualify for furlough unfortunately and we didn’t want them waiting around, we’d rather they were able to find another job.”
Troy has been resident drag queen at the bar since it opened in 2019 and during the lockdown, as Monroe Adams, has been taking part in online performances.
With the Government road map promising an end to social contact restrictions in June, CMYK will remain closed for another few months until then.
In the past decade London has lost more than half of its LGBTQ+ venues.
CMYK has managed to stay open with the help of government grants but Troy says there have been scary moments in the year.
He added, “Our venue and other LGBT+ venues mean so much. To be able to go to a safe space where there are like-minded people is really important.
“LGBT+ venues are grass-roots venues, we are independently run a lot of them have suffered and some have had to close.
“If we want our venues to survive we have to support them as much as we can.”
When it reopens, Troy hopes to have more events including more drag performances and karaoke nights on offer.
Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter