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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 30 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 35
Philly loses its only Lesbian bar - Could Seattle be next?
Section One
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Philly loses its only Lesbian bar - Could Seattle be next?

by Kelly Morris and Sarah Toce - The Seattle Lesbian

The oldest and only Lesbian bar in Philadelphia, Sisters Nightclub, shut its doors for good on Monday, August 12. Though a part of the LGBT scene for nearly two decades, Sisters took a drastic financial hit over the past few years and had to close up for good.

'I have not only lost a job, but a love/passion, a home away from home and an extended family,' Sisters manager Denise Cohen wrote on Facebook.

Sisters lost some clientele to the new, modern Gay clubs that started to pop up around the area in recent years. And, according to Philly.com, while Lesbians are probably more willing to spend money at a woman-operated venue, households headed by two women may be more likely to have financial difficulties considering the inequality in wages between the sexes.

Though Sisters couldn't make enough money to stay open, it's clear it was a beloved place in the community.

'This is really sad for a lot of reasons,' said Anne Ryan, a longtime customer. 'Because that's where I spent my 20s, because you could always count on it being there and open - and it's the only Lesbian bar. I don't feel there are any viable Lesbian options at the moment in Philly.'

DEATH OF A LANDMARK And this scenario is not just occurring in Philly. West Hollywood's only Lesbian bar, the Palms, closed in early June, as The Seattle Lesbian reported June 10. For the past 50 years, the Palms had hosted stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Melissa Etheridge, but now Gay bars are the only option in the longtime LGBT enclave.

Property owner Michael Talla said he planned to demolish the building and combine the property with the adjacent vacant lot to create a four-story residential and retail development.

According to a column in the L.A. Times, 'Experts believe Gay men tend to cluster in upscale urban neighborhoods while Lesbians tend to settle in less flashy, more family-friendly communities.'

WHAT ABOUT WILDROSE?
With so many new establishments going up all over Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood - not to mention high-rise apartment buildings, condos, and a new light-rail station - what will happen to our own little Lesbian bar on Pike? Does anyone still go to the Wildrose?

'It has been a real struggle over the last few years with the state the economy has been in. This seems to be improving over the last six or eight months and all the bars seem to be doing better,' Wildrose owner Shelley Brothers told The Seattle Lesbian. 'We try to offer the music and events that our community wants in a safe and fun venue.'

When asked how the clientele has changed over the past few years, Brothers said that her bar doesn't discriminate.

'Our clientele, like our community, has become very diverse - especially in the last few years. It's great to see all these different people interacting and, hopefully, learning from each other,' Brothers said. 'The Wildrose is a Lesbian bar where everyone is welcome. We don't discriminate and we require that everyone treat each other respectfully. We do not tolerate any type of inappropriate behavior.'

Brothers concluded, 'The best way to support a business is to keep going there on a regular basis. We want to be here for the Lesbian community for a long time and hope you continue to support us.'

Reprinted with permission from The Seattle Lesbian (http://theseattleLesbian.com)

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