Iconic LGBTQ bar Atlanta Eagle, a Midtown mainstay for more than 30 years, is closing its current home, at 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, in November, Owner Richard Ramey announced in a video posted to social media earlier this week. As with many businesses that have turned out the lights for the last time in 2020, Ramey attributes the decision to close to the financial hardships brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
It’s only the “306” address that is truly going away, however. Ramey plans on resurrecting Atlanta Eagle in 2021 at a new home “when the pandemic is over.”
“We are not going out of business,” Ramey said in Thursday’s announcement. “We are not closing permanently. We are going to come back bigger, better, stronger than ever. It’s been a very emotional year. I am just beyond words what this year has done to so many of us.”
Leading up to its last day in its current location November 14, Atlanta Eagle will play host to a series of weekend closing parties, organized in small, COVID-friendly groups, complete with commemorative t-shirts and an open bar — and for a few lucky patrons, maybe even a brick from the building itself. “You’ll get to leave with a piece of history,” Ramey said. “It is an iconic bar.”
Although all of the City’s businesses had to temporarily close in March by state mandate to slow the spread of the virus, nightclubs and bars were among the last category to reopen in June. The bar’s dance floor, which was arguably Atlanta Eagle’s main draw, remained closed and with limited capacity as outlined in the law, Ramey saw an 80 percent decline in sales, he said.
While Ramey has not disclosed where Atlanta Eagle could reopen next year, his plan is to bring the bar back online in June 2021. “My goal, if science and the world will accept it, I’m hoping for a June opening,” Ramey said. “We will have to wait and see.”
Photo: Gay ATL Flashback