Oakland and Atlanta Are Losing LGBT Spaces. Who’s to Blame?
At the beginning of the new year, Oakland, California will find two of its LGBTQ bars closed. No, it’s not because of the hook-up apps like y’all blame for the closing of bars (as you sit at home on said dating apps), but it’s because of the other reason we are losing some of our favorite haunts, transitioning neighborhoods. The according to the general manager of the two businesses (Club 21 and Club BNB), Carlos Uribe stated the new landlord gave him move-out dates by a new landlord. It is to believe that the new owners wish to transition the property to office use.
Those in Oakland are appreciating the new downtown look. There are several new restaurants, housing developments, office buildings, and more, as part of he rebirth the city seems to be currently happening.
The bars have been on a month to month lease for since the San Francisco real estate firm Ellis Partners bought them 20 or so months ago. It was unsure if the firm would buy more properties nearby for a larger project, but now they have given dates for the bars to be out.
Uribe has stated:
“We’re gonna party right to the end. We don’t want to close. We are losing queer spaces left and right, not only in Oakland and San Francisco but around the country. Club BNB and 21 cater specifically to queer communities of color — Club 21 has been Latinx and caters to that and Club BNB to the black community. When (BNB) was on 17th Street we were encouraged to move to this location because they wanted more bars and businesses to make this an arts district. Ultimately, it has led to us being pushed out. – ebar.com
Uribe said that Club 21 has been open for 17 years and Club BNB has been open in its current location for eight years.
With Club 21 and BNB’s closure, the Port will be the only LGBT bar in downtown Oakland. The White Horse, one of the country’s longest, continuously operating gay bars, is located on the Oakland-Berkeley border.
Club 21 and Club BNB (formerly the Bench and Bar) — which are located at 2111 Franklin Street and 2120 Broadway Street in downtown Oakland, respectively — were told they had to leave by January 15. Their last day of business will be Sunday, January 12.
Atlanta and Heretic
So Oakland LGBTQ spaces are going away because of development, but what about the fate of Heretic in Atlanta?
Sandwiched between Buckhead and Midtown, the Cheshire Bridge area has been through a lot. From unfriendly zoning laws, gentrification, public contempt, and more, the area now has to deal with being in the wrong place when it comes to the recent Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) expansion program.
“Heretic is one of the last buildings from that era that has continued to thrive. So to lose it, we really would be losing one of the last gay spaces in Cheshire Bridge Road,” said Charlie Paine, chair of the LGBTQ historic preservation advisory for Historic Atlanta
The proposed Clifton corridor light rail project is currently undergoing an exhaustive environmental review that considers its potential impact on all properties and landmarks, according to a statement by MARTA, which says the organization understands the importance of the club.
In a statement, MARTA officials said they would review the advocates’ demand in due time when the project enters its environmental review stage.
MARTA appreciates the history of The Sports Page and The Heretic and understands the importance of these properties. The communities we serve are an integral part of the decision-making process, and we thank Historic Atlanta for their continued involvement and feedback. – MARTA officials
So the Heretic is not gone as of yet, but do you think it will survive?