Ku Bar Group to relaunch Candy Bar in new site

candy barKu Bar Group is to relaunch its iconic Candy Bar, which has been a popular destination for gay women for nearly 18 years, in a new location in Soho, London.

Gary Henshaw, the head of Ku Bar Group, is to reopen it on January 31 under the new name of She at 23a Old Compton Street in the heart of gay Soho.

The original Candy Bar, which opened in 1996, was in Carlisle Street, off Dean Street, in Soho but has been sold to The Nags Head Ltd in a deal brokered by leisure property specialist DCL for an undisclosed sum.

The Nags Head Ltd, which bought the neighbouring Nellie Dean pub last year through DCL, plans to convert the 1,600 sq ft bar into a new strip club operation, which is due to open soon.

Ku Bar Group, which also runs two Ku Bar sites in Lisle Street in Chinatown and Frith Street in Soho, promises that the reinvention of Candy Bar will be more “intimate and elegant”. It will continue to be the only bar specifically for lesbians in London.

Charlotte Wild of DCL said: “Property values in Soho have increased massively over the past few years and we are increasingly being approached by operators – many of whom have owned units for a considerable amount of time – that are looking to realise the value their properties have accrued.

“Candy Bar is a true Soho institution and we are delighted that it has found a new home nearby.”

Candy Bar was opened by entrepreneur Kim Lucas but changed hands several times until it was bought by Ku Bar Group in 2011. It was the subject of a Channel Five fly-on-the-wall series, Candy Bar Girls, broadcast in 2011.

Announcing the relocation last October, Gary said: “Running the Candy Bar for the last two years has been an amazing experience, but a 50% increase in rent and the current economic climate forced my hand.”

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