When you need a material that will endure the stresses of time and turbulence, strap on some leather. It is like a second set of skin, pliable yet powerful in its ability to move with you and defend you against the rigors of the world.
The same dynamic is true of leather bars. The naughty embrace of your shadowy confines becomes your force field against homophobia. If some bigot wants to mess with you, he has to maneuver the rugged clientele in your queer fortress, and no establishment is grittier or more gregarious than Atlanta Eagle.
This dangerously safe space is a fixture in the Dirty South, and now its legacy is cemented in infamy. The mayor with the absolute best name in America, Keisha Lance Bottoms, showed top-shelf leadership when she designated Atlanta Eagle as an historical landmark.
“Businesses are feeling the devastating effects of COVID-19 this year, including LGBTQ-owned small businesses,” announced Mayor Bottoms. “This has led to LGBTQ-owned businesses around the country closing their doors. The Atlanta Eagle has a rich history and is a beloved place for so many people in Atlanta and across the world.”
The studly saloon opened its doors in 1987, becoming one of many independently owned gay bars to adopt The Eagle as its namesake. Its branding is inclusive yet defiant, and its sanctity was tested back in 2009 when local police illegally raided the pub. But Atlanta Eagle soared above the fray, triumphing in its challenge against the authorities, many of whom were fired for their part in the attack on our civil rights.
Even though the business survived systemic hatred in the past, its future is in peril due to the pandemic. Earning historic status is vital to the survival of Atlanta Eagle. Richard Ramey, the bar’s cuddly owner, responded to the designation by explaining, “Many have called the Atlanta Eagle home over the last three decades. I am grateful to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City of Atlanta for ensuring that many more can call it home in the years to come.”
To paraphrase a true queer icon, there’s no place like home… especially when that home is populated by burly, bearded dreamboats who just made history.
Photo: Instagram @historicatlanta
Last modified: January 4, 2021