The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been sold to unidentified new owners, in what may be the gay pub’s last chance to escape the clutches of the property developers. “I’ve got five years to get RVT turned around and made into a viable business, but for that to happen we need support from the gay community,” James Lindsay is reported as saying by the Nottelevision website.
Lindsay has been co-owner of the venue with Paul Oxley since 2005, and will now run it under a five-year deal with its shy new owners. “We’ve accepted the offer from the new company,” Lindsay adds. “They came back and asked if I would take RVT forward.” He will becomes chief operating officer of Vauxhall Tavern London Ltd, a company incorporated in May 2014.
Fears for the future of the RVT have been fuelled by the secrecy of the sale, and RVT’s location in an area of frantic high-price skyscraper flats development.Lambeth Council, it is said, once planned to demolish RVT to make way for a shopping centre. Lambeth has now moved on and wants to demolish Vauxhall Bus Station instead. The secrecy surrounding the sale prompted an emergency application to Lambeth Council for the right to make a community bid, backed by The Vauxhall Society.
RVT was ‘saved’, it is said, when drag queens invaded a Lambeth Council meeting.
In a statement published to Facebook on 30 September 2014, Lindsay said: “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.