July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Apex closes

Apex (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Apex, a popular gay dance club near Dupont Circle, had its last night of business Saturday though nobody knew it at the time. Employees found out today that Saturday had been its last night.

“I knew it was for sale and it would be closing eventually but we didn’t have a closing date,” said Joey Oldaker, general manager who started at the club in 1993. “None of us knew it was coming as quickly as it did.”

According to Oldaker, who DJs locally as “Joey O.,” the business has been sold. He said the new buyer wished to remain anonymous and he had “no idea” if the new owner plans to continue as a dance club of any kind. Long-time Apex owner Glen Thompson, who also owns Omega — another P Street/Dupont Circle-area gay bar, declined to be interviewed through Oldaker, who said Omega will remain in business.

“He’s very private about his personal life and his business dealings,” Oldaker said of Thompson.

How had business been in recent years? Oldaker said steady but also not as strong as it once was.

“Businesses come and go,” he said. “We survived the Tracks era, the Nation phase, the Town era. It just got to a point where it was a lot different financial climate in which to be in business in the last three to four years with the economy the way it has been.”

Including subcontractors, Oldaker said Apex employed about 25 people. They found out about the closing today, he said. Apex opened in May, 1983 as Badlands. Oldaker said he plans to go back to school and perhaps get a teaching degree.


Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

  • It’s about time!!!! Hope Omega and Fireplace go next…SOON! Uncork the champaign. Woohoo.

  • What a shame! I had only been once, but had the best time. The music was great and I met a boyfriend there. I will miss it.

  • WOW… too bad this was not announced. I am sure it would have be one hell of a closing night for all ages. Had my first Gin and Tonic there soooo many years ago.

    Badlands / Apex – you will be missed.

  • I’m really not surprised no one went there anymore so it was only a matter of time before this happened. This was a fun and cool club back in the day. The bar and club scene in DC has changed a lot and people expect a lot more these days. If they had invested in the space the crowds would have never left.

    • Not sure what you’re talking about. Best music, sound and lights in the city I was there just three weeks ago and it was packed to the rafters and the patrons were going wild. Maybe the owners had enough after 28 years. Just because you are too old and negative doesn’t mean the rest of us are. I will sorely miss it!J

      • Who says the man is old? Are you making an assumption you can’t back up? He speaks of investing back into a business as a means of keeping current. I think people like you are the reason people like him avoid these places.

  • Not true. At a certain point you run into the law of diminishing returns. The bar and club scene throughout the country, except in a select few party towns, has been trending downwards, and not just gay clubs, but straight clubs too. Younger people are using social networking and non-alcohol serving venues to meet each other (a trend that was accelerated by the sour economy). Why pay a cover, pay for drinks, pay for an outfit that’s different enough from the one you wore last time you were out to pass muster with the fashionistas, pay for a cab or parking and gas (if you’re the designated driver), when you can stay home and go online? Even straight clubs that used to be busy 7 days a week are now only open (or busy) on weekends and one weeknight, so they’re exploring gay nights and ethnic nights.

    Older gays, who have more discretionary income, but less interest in the bars/clubs, are staying home, settling down and nesting. Especially the ones who need to smoke with their booze, since they have to keep stepping outside to suck on their cancer sticks.

    Times change. There used to be a time when nightclubs had live music and served food. Then cabaret was all the rage. The pendulum will swing again.

    I’ll treasure my fond memories of Badlands/Apex. Best of luck to the staff.

  • According To Forbes magazine on the list of top 10 busineses to fail is gay bars in the future.

  • There is so much more to life than dance clubs/halls and bars. Here’s hoping they all close and force those who patronize these establishments to discover what life’s all about outside these joints.

  • That’s sad & rude! I definately woulda flown back for a final night! I worked there for 7 years and loved every bit of it! Definately will miss BADLANDS!

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