The new owner of an iconic gay pub that closed without warning said he had “no choice” in keeping the venue open and says a new operator has already been chosen.

More than 200 protesters gathered outside The Black Cap pub in Camden Town over the weekend as fears continued over whether it may have held its last ever drag show.

The historic venue, well-known for cabaret acts, abruptly closed its doors on Monday last week with little explanation.

Faucet Inn, which ran the venue for the past five years, later announced it was “no longer able to operate” the pub after the arrival of new owners.

But the new owner said the decision to close The Black Cap was made “long ago” and not by him.

Paul McGill, owner of Camden Securities which agreed terms on the pub in December, told the Ham&High: “The decision to close the pub was made long ago and not by us. We weren’t given the option to continue running the venue as it was, so we had to find a new tenant. We’ve not gone with the highest bidder but with someone we feel will be sensitive to the area.

“It’s a site of historical value, we understant that. We feel we are saving it as a venue, not destroying it.”

Mr McGill said details of what The Black Cap would be turned into would be given “shortly”, adding: “It will be a “restaurant/café/bar-type establishment”.

The venue, around since the 1800s, is one of a handful of gay pubs left in north London.

The closure comes after a series of failed planning applications submitted by the previous owners. The most recent – rejected by Camden Council in February – would have seen the upper floors turned into three flats.

More recently, it looked as if the future of the pub may have been more secure after the council listed it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

Drag artists, local councillors and LGBT campaigners amassed outside the pub on Saturday to protest the sudden closure.

Drag artist Krystal Ball, real name Charles Rowling, attended the protest and told the Ham&High: “It’s so sad to think a venue promoting so much diversity and creativity could just vanish. And for what? Expensive flats or a Starbucks?

“The impact of this is huge, not only to the LGBT community. This was a much-loved venue by all types of people.

“Venues like this are being shut down across London. It’s very frightening.”

Addressing the crowds on Saturday, Titti La Camp added: “Just over a week ago we had no idea that this travesty was going to happen.

“Since the last government came in, 15 gay pubs have closed in London alone. This cannot happen again.”

A petition calling for The Black Cap to be saved has so far been signed by more than 5,200 people.

Started by Nigel Harris, director of Camden LGBT Forum, he said: “It’s not just the heritage aspect of this decision that is concerning. Our Forum used The Black Cap to spread awareness to people in the LGBTQ community of the services we offer, and that could be lost.”