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Famed Old Compton Street restaurant chain Balans is selling all its London sites

Balans Soho Society has stood in the heart of London's gay scene since 1987.

2020-05-28

Famed London restaurant chain Balans, a longtime favourite of the capital's LGBTQ community, is selling all seven of its London sites.

As bars and restaurants across the UK remains closed in the wake of coronavirus crisis, Balans Soho Society is looking for "best bids" on each of its leases, The Caterer reports.

Balans began life in 1987 as a sandwich shop on Old Compton Street in London's Soho, the heart of the capital's gay scene, quickly becoming a local staple.

After expanding across the capital (and later to Miami), all seven London sites - in Ealing, Victoria, Kensington, Westfield London, Westfield Stratford, and both Old Compton Street venues - are now being marketed by commercial property agents CDG Leisure.

Morris Greenberg, managing director of CDG Leisure, told The Caterer that the leases, licences, fixtures and fittings of the individual sites were up for sale - though not the Balans name or intellectual property.

He added that "best bids" for each lease were being invited by the end of Friday (29 May) and that there had been "a lot of interest" in the sites since they were first placed on the market two weeks ago.

"I haven't had bids yet but people will be gearing up for that this week", Greenberg said.

"As for the amount, I've got no idea. Pre-Covid these sites would have gone for serious money."

While the Balans brand may continue, the timing of the sale is sure to raise concerns as questions continue to be asked about how venues will continue to exist as they contend with the financial fall-out of coronavirus.

Last month, popular Brighton bar and club Legends became the first high-profile LGBTQ venue to announce that it was closing for good after going into voluntary liquidation.