Swinging Richards, the world famous gay strip club in Atlanta, Georgia, has announced the sad news it will be closing its doors this weekend.
The club has been a fixture on the Atlanta LGBTQ nightclub scene for decades since it opened in 1996. But six weeks ago, the owners announced on Instagram “It is indeed true we will be closing our doors on January 15, 2022.”
“We want to thank the countless people who have come and have been entertained by our boys over the years,” read the statement. “You all have meant the world to us for giving so much support over the last three decades.”
After expressing appreciation for the club’s patrons, including its beloved regulars, the announcement closed with an invitation to come by one last time before bringing the landmark to an end.
No specific reason was mentioned in the announcement, but Swinging Richards’ public relations/social media manager, Cameron Belle, told Instinct the ongoing pandemic “absolutely” played a part in the closure.
“We closed voluntarily for that time period in concern for our client and employees’ health,” Belle explained. Following the club’s reopening, the owners looked at adding an additional night, but eventually decided a Thursday/Friday/Saturday business week.
Since the closing announcement, however, the club has seen a resurgence in numbers. Some nights there have been lines at the door that stretched around the block.
“Speaking with our customers, it comes down to them having fun memories in the club and wanting to revisit one last time,” Belle shared. “Our regulars who come regardless, and people just wanting to see our landmark before it closes.”
Even larger crowds are expected for the final “swing” this weekend.
“We have received messages from customers the world over who want to come and celebrate with us the final weekend,” said Belle. “We love the impact we have had on and with the LGBTQIA+ community in Atlanta since our opening.”
Swinging Richards is now one of several Atlanta LGBTQ venues that have been shuttered during the pandemic including the Atlanta Eagle and Amsterdam.
In 2017, award-winning filmmaker Gerald McCullouch took a deep dive into the world of Swinging Richards with his acclaimed documentary All Male, All Nude.
In his review for OUT, Michael Musto called the behind-the-scenes exploration “sexy and illuminating.”