The Horse has been a cornerstone of the Shoreditch strip scene for 38 years and as I must have mentioned before, it was the very first strip venue that I visited. Can't remember the year, but it was in the early 90s and pubs were still closing a 3.00 til 5.00. Throughout this time, the place has remained consistently one of best run venues that I have ever visited. But it was also far more than a strip venue, it was meeting place for an interesting bunch of regulars from all walks of life that got together and discussed the issues of the day or anything else that crossed their minds.
Regulars are what a makes a pub and they come and go, some return after a few months, some never come back at all, but for the current bunch, well... some will move to Browns or The Horns but for some others, the closure of this pub means a change too far and they will seen no more.
We also have to consider those most directly affected by the closure, that is the dancers and the bar staff and we wish them the very best of luck in their search for a new place to work.
The reason for the closure is the same that faces many leaseholders in Shoreditch. Freeholders are squeezing their tenants with vast rent increases with a view to making as much as they can out of the floorspace they own and this is what happened here. The White Horse was hit with a 400% rent increase and the owner, Sue Bristow made a business like decision. But most importantly Sue made sure everyone knew well in advance of the last day of trading.
So on this last day we have about 30 dancers performing from about 1.00pm onwards and the roster includes many that have worked their in the past and it promises to be quite a party. The final dance will be performed by one of their most popular and long standing girls and will take place early Sunday morning and then, after a few last rounds, The White Horse will be no more...
What will become of the place? I have heard loads of rumours, but the most credible is that it is going to turned into some kind of pizza restaurant, which will be amazing and I look forward to what it will be next year and how it will change the year after that.
I did my last visit yesterday afternoon, I wanted to be there on the last regular day and I had a good time, said goodbye to the bar staff and some of the regulars and for me, that is enough. I read somewhere that rather than be sad that something has passed, it is better to glad that it existed and that sums up how I feel.
So, to Sue, the bar staff and the dancers, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for 25 years of great times and good memories that will never fade.