General News

Famous LGBTQ+ bar to be revived in Somerset

Rachel Badham January 31, 2021

Famous LGBTQ+ bar, The Coleherne, is due to be resurrected in Taunton, Somerset. The Coleherne was a popular West London leather bar in the 1970s and 80s, and now ex-DJ Graham Hill plans to recreate the venue in his hometown, with the hope to open later this year. Hill told Somerset Live: “There used to be a pub in Earls Court called The Coleherne, it was a very well-known pub locally and across Europe. If LGBTQ+ people came to London, this would be one of the places they would have to visit. The idea is to resurrect The Coleherne and that is what I’m planning to do in Taunton if we can get to signing the lease.”

Graham Hill and his partner

He added: “It was a mixed, non-restrictive venue, as long as your attitude is right, you can come in. It was very famous from the 70’s into the 80’s and I used to DJ at the pub which is why I know it so well. It had a refurb in the early 90’s which ruined its reputation before it eventually closed.” He hopes the bar will provide a safe space for Taunton’s LGBTQ+ community, as there are no queer venues in the local area: “It’s incredibly important to have this for the LGBTQ+ community, as the nearest LGBTQ+ venue to here is Exeter, Bristol or Bath. There is nothing for them in Taunton or surrounding areas at the moment.”

The new site of The Coleherne in Taunton, Somerset

He continued: “I’m told people would normally travel to Bristol to visit one of these venues, it’s very hard to find a gay pub. The idea of having an actual venue that is a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community is paramount. In this day and age we should be able to go out to any pub and be ourselves, but unfortunately that is not the case.” Hill hopes to open the bar by summer at the earliest: “The aim is to try open by summertime if Government restrictions allow, but it is looking increasingly harder at the moment as there is some way to go. It was originally meant to open earlier but it keeps getting pushed back. Until the lease is signed, it may not go ahead. It isn’t definitely happening yet as it is not a done deal yet. I think it will be, I’m 99.9 percent sure it will be, but I can’t 100 percent confirm yet.”