In, Out, In, Out…
…shake it all about.
I’m getting a bit confused at Greenwich’s ‘gay’ watering holes. Admittedly I’ve been out of the loop recently but it does seem to be a bit on the odd side.
Of course, years ago, it always used to be the Gloucester Arms where Greenwich’s LGBT community used to drink, before it was taken over by INC and revamped several dozen times (it’s currently the Greenwich Tavern, though briefly, of course, this time last year, the Gold & Saddle).
Not as many times as the poor old Cricketers, though, which was where INC tried to move their former regulars when they turfed them out of the Gloucester. It was ‘transformed’ into the ghastly Powder Monkey and rightly shunned by a traditionally pretty quiet community – being gay doesn’t make you totally devoid of taste. (The poor old place went on to attempt to be a tiki bar, catering for Greenwich’s thousands of South Sea Island ex-pats, a rave joint, a chill-out lounge and a very smelly fish & chip shop before finally becoming home to Goddard’s pie shop.)
So for years the Rose & Crown, on the corner of Nevada Street and Crooms Hill, became home to LGBT folk wanting to drink together. It was never ‘exclusively’ gay – always a healthy thing in my humble, but it was fun, friendly and welcoming.
Until it wasn’t. New landlord, new regimen. For a while the R&C wasn’t as ‘gay-friendly’ as before, so many LGBT people hoofed it up Royal Hill to the Prince of Greenwich, which used to be the Prince Albert.
Keeping up? Wish I was…
The the R&C changed its mind. It’s now got another new manager and is actively wooing LGBT drinkers back, though without what Steve, who’s been trying to explain all this to me calls ‘the bells and whistles,’ to make it more ‘inclusive.’ TBH I never found the old R&C un-inclusive, personally.
So now the community’s split.
And – in many ways why not? I mean not all of Greenwich’s straight drinkers pile into one single pub. Perhaps it’s good to have choice – ultimately it may make both places even better by keeping them on their toes with promotions and events. But what promotions?
How about a drag race – that’ll keep people on their toes (or heels…)
The traditional Greenwich Drag Race has been going, according to the Metro Centre website, for eight years. I’m a bit puzzled by that as I am sure I covered the first one and I’ve only been going for seven years, but maybe I just went to it, in those prehistoric times before I started scrawling about my experiences.
The race always used to start at the Rose & Crown, but more recently it’s been at the Prince of Greenwich. And there’s no change there – this year’s will start at the Prince on 14th September and usual rules apply:
Participants must wear drag and Drag Queens are required to wear a heel of at least 2 inches. Drag Kings must sport facial hair. Prizes will be awarded for the winning Drag King and Drag Queen of the race as well as the best drag ensembles and most money raised.
This year it has a Latin Fiesta theme.
But Que Pasa? Uneasy lies the wig that wears the crown.
For this Saturday, the 10th August, the Rose & Crown are holding a rival Street Party – with, among cabaret acts, music, food and drink, their own drag race. Calling itself ‘the original drag race’, this one is officially named for Michael Joyce, the founder of Greenwich’s alternative marathon, who died in a car accident four years ago.
Less ‘blood on the carpet’, more ‘beer on the sequins.’
What’s a drag queen or king to do? There’s only one thing, really…
Why not – they’re both for charities worth supporting (Metro Centre and Help for Heroes), both look like great fun and both important parts of Greenwich life. There’s no point knocking heads together here, this is the kind of storm in a D-cup that will sort itself out in time, and in the meanwhile, there’s twice the fun to be had for the rest of us.
See you Saturday…and on the 14th Sept.
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