The D.C. gay bar Remingtons will close its doors for good on Monday, April 14, ending a run of 34 years in which Remingtons and its predecessor gay bar Equus operated in the same building on Capitol Hill at 639 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.
Remingtons owner Douglas Bogaev said the bar’s customers are invited to join the staff on Monday night for a closing party.
Bogaev said a company that bought the building last year informed him of its plans to gut the inside structure to make way for a redesigned interior.
He said the new owner, which city property records identify as Mountain View Burleson, LLC, did not tell him what it plans to do with the building when the renovation is completed.
According to Bogaev, the previous owner offered to sell him the building but he declined, saying he wasn’t in a position financially to make the purchase. He said the company didn’t offer to rent him space in the building following the renovation. City records show Mountain View Burleson paid just over $3 million for the two-story structure that consists of two adjacent buildings.
“The rent was high and our country-western crowd died out,” Bogaev said. “I have a day job, and it was getting to be too much for me.”
He was referring to the reputation of Remingtons and its earlier incarnation of Equus as the city’s preeminent country-western gay bar. At its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s Remingtons often was packed to capacity on weekends and some weekday evenings with country-western dance enthusiasts filling the bar’s large dance floor.
Bartender Mike Swain said Remingtons turned to other forms of entertainment and music around 2007 when the country-western crowd stopped coming. Drag shows, hip-hop music nights, a popular Latino night on Saturdays, and Karaoke in the bar’s upstairs room were among the offerings in recent years, Swain said.
“Business has been good,” he said. “It’s really a shame this is happening. I’m very sad to see it go.”
Since it opened in 1980 as Equus, the bar catered to a mostly gay male clientele with a country-western theme. The late Steven Smith, Bogaev’s domestic partner, bought the bar with business partner Dick Brandrupt in 1985, Bogaev said. He said Smith and Brandrupt changed the name to Remingtons around 1986 or 1987.
Smith became the sole owner around 1997, according to records from the city’s liquor board. Bogaev assumed ownership following Smith’s death in 2011 of liver cancer.