This week Gary Henshaw, Nieko and the entire team at Ku Leicester Square on Lisle Street will be celebrating 12 years since the flagship Ku venue opened its doors, plus it’s also Valentine’s Day. Dave Cross had a catch up with Gary and asked our kissing cover stars from Ku what the big V means to them.
“My perfect date is a secluded dinner, just the two of us, with some live music and then go and find a spot, look at the stars with a couple of bottles of Prosecco.” Joe
“I’d love to spend the day exploring the city and end with dinner and a movie.” John
Hi Gary, congratulations on 12 years of Ku Leicester Square, how do you think the gay scene has changed since 2007?
So many people lament the demise of the gay scene and Soho. Of course, it saddens me to see anywhere close, none more so than the original Ku which opened on Charing Cross Road on 7 December 1995 and closed its doors at the end of January 2007. Our landlord has raised my rent at Little Ku by a whopping 92% in the last 10 years. This is what we are up against as Soho bar owners.
But it’s not all bad news?
Things change, people change, and the scene constantly evolves with a new generation of young and proud LGBT+ people are filling Ku and many other thriving bars and clubs. The reality is that despite many set-backs London continues as one of the world’s greatest gay cities.
What are you most proud of that has happened with Ku in that time?
Despite rapidly increasing rents and rates my independently owned company has since expanded to include The Light Lounge, Ku Soho and She Soho. Although Ku Leicester Square is very different and five times larger, I believe it retains a lot of the original character of its predecessor on Charing Cross Road. I am very proud of my current amazing and friendly team. An entire generation of gay and straight staff and customers have and continue to enjoy Ku. Long may she reign.
How are you celebrating your 12th anniversary at the venue?
To celebrate 12 years of Ku Leicester Square, we are running a 2-4-1 Heineken deal every day in February. On Valentine’s Day, the actual birthday, we are also running an ‘open draught bar’ between 7pm and 8pm. And yes, all draught products are free! There will be a toast by the beautiful Vicki Vivacious who will also be DJing from 9pm, the party then continues in Klub until 3am.
What are the Ku Group’s Valentine’s plans?
As Ku’s anniversary takes place on Valentine’s Day, we like to feel that the Love rubs off. We have had many a marriage begin to spark at Ku. Only yesterday a guy came up to me and thanked me as he had met his future husband at Ku Klub. I promised him I’d mention that here. Congratulations Matthew and Tim.
What are your aims for 2019?
Our aims as always are to succeed at being the best in our field. At providing quality venues and brands at reasonable prices. Our team are here to welcome you with a smile and provide you with an experience that exceeds your expectations. We want to continue providing a vast array of entertainment including drag kings and queens, we also look forward to screening Eurovision 2019. We are all currently loving the Six Nations rugby and anticipating the Rugby World Cup later this year. Our amazing customers help us raise thousands of pounds for charities as diverse as The Peter Tatchell Foundation, Diversity Role Models and The Food Chain and we will continue to support LGBT+ charities in 2019. We are very proud that we remain independent and gay owned.
“I’d be happy to be anywhere with the person I love, it’s not about the location, it’s about being with them.” Marian
“Nothing extravagant, maybe a nice dinner and a day spent watching films and lots of cuddles.” Valentina