Ever since it was first opened in 1971, The DC Eagle gay bar has continuously served Washington D.C.’s gay community. However, the Washington Blade reports that it will now close down after the building they were renting was sold and owners were given instructions to leave by September.
According to Eagle manager Miguel Ayala, he and the staff were told in a Zoom meeting that rather than find a new location, principal owner Ted Clements and part-owner Peter Lloyd had chosen to close the business instead.
If Clements and Lloyd had chosen to move instead, it would have been the fifth relocation for the bar. According to the Washington Blade, the bar’s first location was on 9th Street, N.W. in downtown D.C. in 1971. It then moved to 7th Street, N.W., and later to New York Avenue, N.W. Its current location is at 3701 Benning Road, N.E. All of these movements were caused by real estate developments displacing the bar.
The Benning location is a four-story warehouse building that Clements and Lloyd had bought, which patrons thought would make it safe from real estate developments. However, the owners had sold the building in a bid to raise funds, hoping to lease it back from the new owners.
The closure of the DC Eagle is particularly poignant as it would have celebrated its 49th anniversary in six months. From its start as a club that catered specifically to the leather crowd, it had expanded to include other members of the LGBTQ community by hosting dance parties and drag shows.
The DC Eagle’s closure also coms after the closure of the D.C. LGBTQ nightclub Ziegfeld’s-Secrets. The club was asked to leave the building as it was going to be demolished and turned into a high-rise apartment building. Steve Delurba, the Ziegfeld’s-Secrets manager, could not guarantee that the club would be able to find a new location.
Dave: As analogous to what this Blog states… in England, the Pubs are closing because of the spiraling waywardness of Real Estate, specifically, in London, and, more slowly, throughout England…some of the Pubs begun in the 18th & 19th Centuries have already been torn down. It is becoming Epidemic in Continental Europe…as well. These bars did not close because of little business. The reality is that many of the Gar Bars, within the Washington, DC. AREAS, were never in the most desirous neighborhoods; hence, they proliferated. With increased population and the ever-increasing need for increased tax revenue, the what-was-the-least-desirable-neighbors, are… Read more »
As an Addendum… . Leather Bars are effete and are not embraced by the younger generational gay boys… . They still exist but are becoming more of a rarity I have a friend who lived in Alexandria, Virginia and who worked for “The Cafe De La Fayette as a waiter. When I would visit him, he would take me to The Eagle. I stuck out like a sore thumb as I was not dressed in leather or had any overt affection for leather or its smell. It was a kink and there were those who had the bodies to do… Read more »
Agreed. Leather bars are a niche market, and require significant disposable income in the patrons. The higher operating cost, such as insurance as to patron activities were astronomical; imagine the results of a poorly played fisting episode for example. And in an age of Grindr it is tough to imagine that anyone wanting a hookup, leather or otherwise would need to incur the costs and risks involved with drinking and driving, dealing with a potential high crime neighborhood, or just the time involved to find a partner. The bars that will survive into the future will be places that have… Read more »
I think that business is down for many gay bars and I wouldn’t attribute it to less disposable income. Instead, I would suspect that the popularity of dating and hookup apps has a lot to do with it. This is already a generation that is comfortable with texting and less face-to-face interaction. Why bother going to a bar, hoping to hookup with a guy into the same things that you’re into when you can find a guy who is equally horny and ticks most of your boxes from the comfort of your living room?
So why don’t they just look for a new space?
There could be any number of reasons. For instance, the cost of buildout for new space might be more than the owners care to invest. Real estate where they want to locate might be too expensive. Or, perhaps the owners are getting to an age where they’re tired of move after move.
ok, not to sound like a vulture, as i am never going to make it to this bar, will there be any sort of sale of its interiors for memorebelia? I would like to buy something with the logo on it.
This is sad to see. The District of Columbia used to have many gay establishments where the gay community could go and have a night out on the town. The city wants our money during Gay Pride but really doesn’t want us any other time. I’m 50 years old now if someone had told me all of these establishments would be gone in my 20’s I would have been knocked over with a feather.
I had my first leather fucked-in-a-sling party experience there approximately 17years ago. And that was the only time during my 8 year residence in Washington did I ever attend said institution. It just wasn’t my scene then – The Follies, and the corridor of gay clubs near Brookland were more my wheelhouse. Still, the passing of any such renowned space invites nostalgia, so I can empathize in that specific way. (The) Leather (scene), I’ve come to a conclusion, has promoted far too eagerly the BDSM lifestyle – one that cannot stand to weather the course of time in any freedom-reinforcing… Read more »
Thumbs-up, as you’ve expressed much here! Of which, will go right over the heads of many, unfortunately. Kudos!
This reminds me of the Lure in the meatpacking district in Manhattan. It was more than a stereotypical leather bar. They used to do some really cool nights, I especially enjoyed the fetish performance night. I saw some really interesting works of art, yeah art! Then the area blew up and it was “nice knowing you”. It is going to be very interesting how all the nightlife of NYC plays out after COVID19 and the high prices of doing business and living in the city.
Thank you Richard. I ran the LURE the last five years of his life. And I’m happy that you feel the way that you do it was good memories. Sparky
Ok so maybe demanding to be accepted has a downside … It’s been achieved. And there’s no longer a need for as many LVTBQwhatever -ONLY clubs?
It’s a shame but the same thing is happening downtown Toronto in the village…with the closure of Zippers and Fly 2.0 to make way for condo development the Black Eagle has now diversified its leather bar status to having the best retro night dance music because there are fewer and fewer bars / clubs/ lounges..rents are getting more expensive and people aren’t going out spending money like they used to
And on a total and separate issue Dave..because I don’t know if a forum on this will open up..we need to be so mindful / responsible as a community when we venture out…South Korea just had a spike in their Covid 19 cases after relaxing restrictions when a guy ( who unknowingly had symptoms…allegedly ) went into 5 different gay clubs in one night and 80 people have since tested positive for the virus that they know of because it’s still frowned upon to be gay in South Korea so other guys aren’t willing to report that they are experiencing… Read more »
Did you see the reports this week in several mainstream media outlets of two small studies in China which showed coronavirus live in semen of symptomatic patients? Yes, China, but why would they make this up? The reports stated that the studies were small and there has been no follow-up about what happens to the virus once the patient recovers. More studies are needed.
Hi Hunter0500.. the best time to watch the news is in the wee hours of the morning..that’s when a lot of stuff that you won’t see during mainstream viewing times is reported..yes i did see mention of corona virus being spread by semen…there is so much about this that virus that is not known…a simple thing like kissing a random guy is a thing of the past
I’ve always enjoyed the Eagle/s, the one in Minneapolis and NYC as just something different, an alternative as attire/style goes, I love biker clothing, I have the jacket, boots and pants, always put me in a Jim Morrison of the “Doors” state of mind, really wild side. Not so much the kind of sexual practices typically of the leather-scene though, to each his own.
This seems to be a trend among the owners of such establishments, i.e. not owning the real estate. The real estate owners choose to sell or renovate said property and a business is closed. And face it, most of these establishments are in areas of not so desirable reputations.
Social aps has killed gay culture like online shopping has killed retail.
this is not a sham at all. we know this coming. thanks to apps like grinder and jackd people are not going out to place like this anymore. just too hard for owners to survive in the current economics. the high rent does not help. I was in the Eagle SF and have to pay $13 for a beer before tip. Real estate is just too high for places like these to survive ever when the owner finds a place to rent and especially the future of life after Corona is unknown.
Well, thank you to all of you queens who are commenting on the death of an institution, but aren’t bothering to send flowers, or attend the funeral. Your opinion doesn’t really mean much, because there are a whole culture in the gay world who WILL mourn the DC Eagle! You may now adjourn to your drag bars, queens. I ran the L.U.R.E. nightclub in NYC from 1999-2003. I know about the birth , life, and death of a leather bar. We were open from 94-03. And what killed us was 9/11. The insurance went way up and the landlord wanted… Read more »
I agree with much said on here, about the future of gay-bars, period. As with the apps; people are just taking each other for granted in a way, like ordering steak? Communication face to face in person always has worked best as a more natural experience/encounter. When on line, it’s assumed a hook-up, just because you met in person. I miss going out just to have a few drinks and a conversation, making a platonic friend and/or having an actual date from there on, behaviors have become so cheap, as the drinks have become really expensive.
Just reading this has made me so sad. I used to visit a friend in DC and he would take this “country mouse” to the DC Eagle from time to time. I also remember some other friends of mine in The Spartans Motorcycle Club, used to enjoy hanging out at The DC Eagle. Bars and Clubs like this are closing all over the country… and just like one other post said… If you had told me while I was in my 20’s, (I’m 55 now) all these fantastically kinky, or flamboyant, clandestine and “underground” places would be closing, due to… Read more »
PREACH!!!! Yeah, I’m waxing rather nostalgic these days, too. When I moved to NYC, living on good ole’ W.14th St., btw 6 & 7th Ave’s, right in the middle of everything, all the action, I use to go to the Lure and it’s special fetish nights. My old ‘hood’, wow! Diane Von Furstenberg moved-into the place and ‘wham’ thus began the transformation. I think it’s great how they utilized that old train track of 10th Ave.,, it’s really good, however, there went the ‘hood’ it’s all really “upscale/sanitized…” Clearly, what’s happening is “Gentrification” just like in “hoods of color” really… Read more »
To sum-it all up, “gentrification”
As a black patron I recall being harassed several times by the Black / Bartender or part owner of the club the few times I was there alone.