For more than a decade now, Eagle London has been a popular pleasure hub for Vauxhall’s gay population. Every night, the large clubby pub sizzles with booze, wine, laughs and merriment as it hosts a crowd of distinctly male, jolly and slightly built GBTQI clientele.
But, what makes Eagle London even more popular is its sex-entertainment license, which allows sexual acts on the premises of the gay club. Keen to keep all activities at Eagle London clean and legitimate, club owner, Mark Oakley worked closely for many years with the license-issuing Lambeth city council to create a rigid code of conduct. It made the dark room safe and secure for gay men to meet under the watchful eyes of the local police.
However, Mark no longer wants the dark room as part of Eagle London or to still make use of its sex entertainment license. He is seeking to change the face of the club, with a new and more diverse crowd which loves the pub life and craft beer. As natural fallout, the demographic the new look Eagle Club attracts also altered slightly, tending more towards older males. It underlines the changing scenes of London’s nightlife.
It is a change that has been coming, dating four years back when Mark realised the dark room was losing its allure. Former GBTQI clientele discovered that with the help of mobile technology they could easily hook up using apps like Grindr. Mark was also beginning to battle with drug problems among his gay clients, threatening the clean reputation of the club.
Once, on a Saturday, Mark rushed down from his flat above the club to the scene of an alarm where a man had passed out, naked and lying face down. Thankfully, he survived but the police soon swarmed the place and Mark knew the reputation of London Eagle was on thin ice. He was convinced he had to rethink how the club was set up and perhaps remodel.
Open to Everyone Now
Mark did not just remodel London Eagle, he made a 360-degree change. It was a hard decision, considering that the old setup had been very popular and was a major income stream for him. But London Eagle had moved with the times with a total makeover that will best fit the community.
The dark room is now gone and the club is transforming its interiors, with exposed brick walls and stylish, wooden bar modeled after the chic Meatpacking District of New York. And with a newly installed classy sound system, Mark is hoping to bolster the club’s reputation as the place for exciting night club experience like the famous Horse Meat Disco, which has been a Sunday night favourite at Eagle London for the last 12 years.
The exterior still looks a bit out of sync with the new look Mark is trying to achieve for the club. He says by February, that too will get a makeover with warmer colours to mirror the new energy and all-comers look. The club, he says, is now really open to everyone, all week, all night until as late as 5am.