August 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm EST | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Phase 1 owner says community has final say on bar’s future
Allen Carroll (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Allen Carroll (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Phase 1 owner Allen Carroll says business at Phase 1 has been “a little slow” since he reopened the lesbian club in March.

Open Thursdays through Saturdays only, Carroll says it will ultimately be up to the community to decide if it wants Phase 1 to continue.

“I don’t really know if the girls still want their own club,” he says. “I don’t want to close, but the girls have got to support it. I’ve always been there for the women. I don’t fully get it. We’ve been there through good times and bad times.”

Carroll says five of his previous staffers returned when he reopened. He also says property tax increases have not been an issue as some have speculated.

“I pay my taxes, you can look it up,” he says. “People have said we can’t afford to be on this street anymore. I said, ‘Hell, I’ve been here 45 years, I ain’t going anywhere.’ I’ll be 74 in November, so I don’t care,” he says. “I mean I would love to see them keep their own bar. Some girl just on Friday night told me, they say, ‘We hear all this stuff on,’ on what is it, Facebook? And they say, ‘Allen, you’re the only one, we need to get it out there that you have supported us since 1970.’ I try my best. … I feel hurt about it, but that’s life.”

He says there’s “no animosity” toward former Phase 1 manager Angela Lombardi.

“We never had words or anything,” he says. “But we haven’t talked. She’s doing her own thing now.”

Lombardi says she wishes Phase 1 well.

“I’m not mad about anything,” she says. “Whatever Allen felt he needed to do, good for him. I hope it stays open for another 40 years. … I know the struggle. I fought for a long time to try to make it all work so all I can say is good luck to whomever is doing my job now.”

Carroll says Phase 1 is “my baby.”

“I’ve seen so many girls’ clubs open and close, open and close, they always come back to the Phase,” he says. “I hope the girls want to keep it. It really comes down to them. There’s only so much I can do.”

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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