By Bob Vitale
Wall Street Nightclub and Showbar will ring out the old year, but it won’t be around for 2016.
Columbus’ oldest LGBTQA bar will close on Dec. 31, its owners announced today. Amber Myers and Sandy Rollins bought the Downtown club in November 2014 and said a number of factors have contributed to their decision to shut down.
“Financial stress from declining business and deteriorating building conditions were compounded by the loss of parking with condo development in the neighborhood and the loss of third-party production companies,” Myers said in a news release.
Myers said she and Rollins couldn’t reach new lease terms with the owner of the Wall Street building at 144 N. Wall St. That would have helped them stabilize the business and make improvements needed to attract more customers.
Shows scheduled through New Year’s Eve will go on, she said. The New Year’s Eve party now is being billed as “Finale: Take a Final Bow.”
“We hope we can go out strong and have one last great month in this historic club,” Myers said.
On Wall Street’s Facebook page, people have begun reminiscing about the first gay bar many ever entered.
“Such sad news. Some of my best memories from my early years happened at the Wall,” one customer posted.
“So many memories,” another said. “My first gay club experience was here, I met my first love here, SOOOOO many Wednesday nights spent here. I never thought that news of a bar closing could make my heart ache, but this truly makes me sad. Thanks for the memories!”
“So deeply saddened by the loss of a great community gathering place. This is where I realized who I was. My hearts go out to the owners who have tried to sustain the business.”
In 2013, Outlook wrote about the decline of LGBT bars, attributed to factors including the gay-friendliness of more “straight” establishments, wider acceptance of LGBT people reducing the need for segregated spaces, and use of social media to meet others.
Wall Street opened as a lesbian bar in 1987 and remained popular with gay and bi women as it evolved into an LGBT club. It has hosted everything from lesbian dance parties to boys nights, country dancing to hip-hop, drag, burlesque and more.