The Cap (as it’s affectionately known) is a historically significant public house in Camden Town. Licensing records show it dates back over 250 years to 1751, although earlier maps of the area show a pub has been on this site for much longer. The existing building, with its unique gabled facade and bust of Mother Black Cap, was built in the 1870s.
Over the last six decades, the Cap has been a hugely important place for the LGBTQ+ community, offering gay men a refuge before the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967. The Cap become famous for its drag queen cabaret, promoting itself in the 1970-80s as the “Palladium of Drag” and later as “London’s Premier Cabaret Bar”. Many thousands of performers graced the stage, including legendary drag artists such as Tony Page, Mrs Shufflewick, Dave Lynn and Regina Fong. Some regular acts going onto wider mainstream success, including Hinge and Bracket and Lilly Savage; Paul O’Grady’s alter ego.
As well as enriching the cultural and artistic diversity of the area over the last half of the 20th and into the 21st century, it has been a significant ‘anchor’ business, alongside the markets and other famous pubs and clubs, playing a particularly important role in the night-time economy of the area.