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Sale of Phase 1 ends 45-year run of lesbian bar

Building goes for $3.3 million

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Phase 1, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

Phase 1, a lesbian bar that has operated in the Barrack’s Row section of Capitol Hill since 1970, became a part of gay bar history last month when its building, owned by Phase 1 co-founder Allen Carroll, sold for $3.3 million, according city tax records.

Although Phase 1 has been closed since last June, Carroll applied to have its liquor license stored in “safekeeping” at the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, raising speculation – and hope by some of its loyal customers – that he might reopen the iconic club.

One year earlier Carroll announced on the bar’s Facebook page that it was being closed for renovation work and would soon reopen. It did reopen a few months later on a limited schedule of Thursday through Saturday nights only.

At the time it reopened he told the Blade he was uncertain of its future.

“I don’t want to close, but the girls have got to support it,” he said. “I’ve always been there for the women. I don’t fully get it. We’ve been there through good times and bad.”

Some of Phase 1’s regular customers speculated that as LGBT rights advances changed the gay and lesbian social scene many former gay bar customers – men and women – feel comfortable going to other clubs that welcome both gays and straights.

City tax records show that although Phase 1 operated in its building at 525 8th St., S.E. for many years, Carroll’s Ft. Washington, Md., based company, AJC II LLC, bought the building in December 2009 for just over $1.8 million. His sale of the building eight years later yielded a profit of just under $1.5 million, city records show.

A large sign hanging on the front wall this week says the building is up for lease and is well suited for a restaurant.

In recent years, the Phase 1 became known as the longest continuously operating lesbian bar in the country. In 1970, when Carroll and his partner Chris Jensen opened the bar, they were among just a small number of gay bar owners who sought to open an exclusively lesbian bar.

Former Phase 1 manager and bartender Angela Lombardi told the Blade in a 2015 interview, when Carol closed the bar for renovation and didn’t make it clear when or if he would reopen, praised Carol for his many years of commitment to keeping the bar open.

“He’s done more than fucking anyone else, more than any lady, more than anyone for our community and for that he deserves serious accolades,” Lombardi said. “He kept it open through thick and thin. That’s his baby. That’s the bar that started it all for him and Chris,” she said.

“Allen has really fought for 45 years to keep those doors open,” she said.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. LesbianTippingHabits

    April 8, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Key to any successful community institution like Phase 1:

    Visit regularly as a customer, and tip generously for good service.

    Thanks so much to everyone for a great run!

    • djcoastermark

      April 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Sometimes, I have may scoff at your tipping habits obsession, but in a case like this, I do agree. Patronizing , and by that I mean spending money for more than one drink all night long, and tipping accordingly, is what will keep a place alive. Just popping in and not spending will keep closing places.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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