We popped into First Out today for dinner, and managed to get a few minutes with Maria, one of the owners of First Out.
We wanted to pass on our thanks for many years of a fantastic and welcoming venue for the gay community (for one of us it was our first venture out to a gay bar a few *cough* years ago now!)
Maria said she has been "overwhelmed by the many well-wishes and thanks" she has received in the past few days from First Out customers. Twitter and Facebook were both going crazy with the news yesterday and today, with many status updates initially showing disbelief.
She wanted everyone to knwo that there is a month left to celebrate and enjoy First Out. It will continue to be open every day and all the regular events will still be happening.
Don't wait until the very end, with 4 weeks left until the doors close for one last time on Saturday 29 October there is plenty of opportunities to have your final visit. It is likely to be very busy the last weekend and you don't want to be disappointed.
When talking about the community spirit and response to the closure Maria wanted to remind everyone to show their support for First Out by coming down, whether it be for after work drinks, Sunday lunch, tea and cake, dinner or a good old boogie in the basement bar. There is nothing to protest about or campaign for, this is a time to celebrate one of the most iconic venues on the scene in the last 25 years.
The official First Out statement can be found on their website and on the Facebook page.
The official First Out event encouraging you to visit throughout October can be viewed here.
Unofficial Facebook events and even fundraisers/protests are popping up with social media showing once again how people can quickly come together. Some are supportive and encouraging, but people should note however that First Out is not asking for or expecting any fundraising, campaigning or protesting. The venue will close on 29 October and people should not donate money if they do not know where the money will be going.
Some of the amazing messages of support include:
"Such sad news! My little world won't be the same without First Out. I've had such brilliant times there. You'll be greatly missed xx"
"Very sad news! Ive got drunk, laughed, exhibited artwork, DJed, met friends, picked up the papers and used the loo and spent so many good times in First Out over the last 20+ years. It's a big part of my London story and a big part of many others stories too. Best wishes to all for you for the future."