The Backstreet was London‘s longest-running leather and fetish bar/club. It had been running for over 37 years. In a statement released on social media, the management team announced that the club was to close in July 2022
The announcement said,
“After an incredible 37 years, The Backstreet will be closing its doors for the last time on 17th July. John and all the staff would like to say how grateful we are for all the support our customers have given us throughout the years. The club could never have carried as long as it has without your loyalty. From all of us to all you of thank you.
The club which is set in London’s Mile End was established in 1985 when London’s gay scene was booming. Since 2000 THEGAYUK has been tracking London’s gay scene closures of which there have been over 110 LGBT+ venues closed. The Backstreet becomes the latest venue to close. During its time it hosted fetish social nights, life drawing classes, smoking and naked events.
Fans of the Backstreet shared their sadness at the news, with one fan suggesting that The Backstreet was one of the only social clubs in London to be truly accessible, saying, “You’re the one social club and play space all on one level, which made it the most accessible venue I’ve been to in the UK. Such a shame you’ve decided to close, rather than sell the business on!”
Another remarked how the fetish scene had been effectively “cleansed” writing, “Consider the scene fetishised cleansed, remember the battle to save Xxl from closing, even the judge, in that case, said there was homophobic play going from the foreign investors, we’ve allowed ourselves to be marginalised, pushed aside.”
While another added, “It is very sad news indeed. it is 30 years ago (since) I started going to the Backstreet. I was a young man still in my late teens. The UK has become sterile regarding fetish. Most good events are outside of the UK now. Depressing news.”
Another added how marginalised the leather and fetish community had become within the LGBT+ community writing, “This is a tragedy! Leather men have been pushed out of the London scene over the past 20 years. The anvil. Gone. The Colehearne. Gone. The London Apprentice. Gone. And now the BACKSTREET! Very sad news that will affect my life.”