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.