ONE of the most popular gay bars in Portsmouth is set to close its doors.
Martha’s, in Commercial Road, will host its final night on Bank Holiday Monday.
Its closure has come as a shock to scores of regulars who visit the city centre club.
Nick Hodgson, a second year TV and film production student at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘I go to the club every Monday night and it always gets a big crowd.
‘But I know other nights were really quiet.
‘For me this venue was a good package – good audience and cheap drinks.’
The 20-year-old is also a member of the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender society.
‘The fact a gay bar is closing disturbs the social aspect of Portsmouth for the LGBT community,’ added Nick.
‘That’s a big shame, a lot of people are disappointed.
‘Portsmouth is not the most welcoming and there’s not a great deal of choice for gay people.
‘It means people will have to travel to Brighton or Southampton for a night out.
‘As a member of the LGBT society I know a lot of people are most upset.
‘Gay clubs give people a chance to meet others and to help build confidence.’
Two Facebook pages have been set up for club goers to remember good times at the venue.
One, called Save Marthas From Disappearing, has attracted almost 200 people.
The second, Rest In Peace Martha’s/227, recalls how the club first opened in 1985.
A post from Lyn Fisher reads: ‘Met my wife there in 2005, had my hen night there in 2008. It holds lots of great memories for me, will be very sad to see it close.’
A spokeswoman for the Stonegate Pub Company, who own the venue, said: ‘We can confirm that Martha’s will be closing on Monday, May 30.’