ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta pride is always a celebration, but one celebratory night back in 2009 put police and members of the LGBTQIA+ community at odds.
Police raided the Atlanta Eagle based on allegations of illegal drug and sex activity happening inside.
“It was a dark time for us. The staff and customers that night really went through something they didn’t need to go through,” Atlanta Eagle owner Richard Ramey said.
The raid led to a federal lawsuit which ended with the city paying more than a million dollar settlement and police reforms.
“A lot of things came out of that case, and it was for the good of the city, not just the gay community or bar, nightlife.”
As Eagle starts a new chapter, opening pride weekend, Ramey says patrons can expect some old and new vibes to keep what has made the Eagle so special for so long.
“I’m absolutely, no pun intended, over the moon. I am so excited to bring back the Atlanta Eagle,” Ramey said. “It’s a place where you can come and be yourself. It’s a safe place for all. Through the years, that’s what the Atlanta Eagle...that’s what it means to me.”
The well-known gay bar, formerly located at 306 Ponce, is being revived at what was once Midtown Moon in the Ansley Square shopping center. “We’re not just closing the door, taking the moon down and hanging an eagle,” Ramey said.
The historic building on Ponce was once home to the celebrity club where famed drag queen RuPaul got his start.
Ramey made the difficult decision to close the Eagle in 2021 after 33 years. The shuttered bar was, like many businesses, a casualty of the pandemic.
“Part of a nightclub is for people to socialize and be together and I couldn’t figure out a way to run that business,” Ramey said.”
The new space will include a dance floor upstairs and eventual access to the beltline. There will also be food and drag, both new to the Eagle.
Copyright 2022 WANF. All rights reserved.