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A LGBT bar could soon open in Aldershot following success of trial

The success of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender night called Kurious could lead to the opening of a permanent venue in Aldershot

Rob Cooper with Pandora, trying to launch a LGBT Night in Aldershot

A gay bar could soon open in Aldershot after a trial event to gauge interest exceeded all expectations.

Rob Cooper, 27, who ran gay bar Scrumptious in Guildford until 2010, brought the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) scene to Aldershot with a trial night called Kurious on December 1 before following this up with another in Guildford on December 15.

The trials were intended to be a face-off between the two towns to allow Mr Cooper to decide whether his home town or Aldershot will house a permanent venue.

However, with both events proving more popular than expected, Mr Cooper has found himself unable to make a decision yet and will hold another event in both towns to provide a clue as to which would be more successful in the long term.

The Aldershot trial event is likely to be again held in Tiffany’s as a one-off night, and is scheduled to take place on January 27.

The second Guildford event will follow on February 23 at Flares, but any event being held in Surrey's county town needs to be far busier to compensate for the higher business rates charged there.

Mr Cooper said: “Both events were so well attended that it’s left me feeling it could have been too good to be true.

“It turns out we had around 100 people in Aldershot and just over 200 people in Guildford – both great numbers for a Sunday night. The problem we have is trying to get an indication on whether the numbers in each town are sustainable.

“Because of the cost difference in maintaining a business in the two different areas, both towns are equally appealing.

“Guildford would give us more opportunities, with it being closer to London, but the more competitive pricing of Aldershot makes the longevity of any business safer.”

A special guest appearance by Katie Hopkins, who was at the Guildford trial night hosted by Flares on Sunday had to be cancelled at the 11th hour because of security concerns. The former Apprentice contestant was the subject of threats after making offensive comments on Twitter earlier this month.

Mr Cooper said that once he had chosen between Aldershot and Guildford, the bar could potentially be open within days.

“With my last bar, I literally went to a meeting, got the lease the next day and then opened it seven days later,” he said, although he conceded the process might not be as quick this time.

He has already investigated possible permanent venues in Aldershot town centre and is hopeful of securing a premises quickly if it is his chosen destination.

 

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