Fire Destroys Iconic Fort Worth Gay Bar, The Rainbow Lounge

A fire destroyed beloved Fort Worth gay bar, The Rainbow Lounge, early this morning.


A gay bar in Fort Worth that was at the center of a controversial raid by agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) eight years ago has burned to the ground.

Fire crews were called out to the Rainbow Lounge just after 3 a.m. and they were still battling hot spots just before 6 a.m.

The roof caved in shortly after firefighters arrived. The first-responders said it was too late to save the bar and too dangerous to fight the flames from the inside, so they attacked the blaze from outside.

Witness Bianca Davenport Starr said, “It’s really devastating because this is like my home bar and I love this bar and now it’s completely gone.”

It was employees at the nightclub who first called the fire department after noticing smoke coming from the roof. The club had already closed for the night and no one in the group had keys to get inside.

The building’s owner, Ray Williams, didn’t learn about the fire until hours later. “I found out when I got up this morning and turned Channel 11 News on and there it was,” he said.

Eater Dallas adds:

In a post to the bar’s Facebook page, employees allege that police were less-than-sensitive when they responded to the scene last night. “We had a horrible crisis last night when our club burned down and you had absolutely no right to be rude or ugly to any of us,” reads the post. It also alleges that a Fort Worth police officer told employees to “get the fuck back or I will arrest all you” when Rainbow Lounge’s tried to get keys to firefighters. 

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but signs currently point to a faulty ice maker. No word yet on whether or not Rainbow Lounge plans to reopen.