June 24, 2020 at 5:00 am EDT | by Ed Gunts
Baltimore’s Night Shift 2.0 closes permanently
Night Shift 2.0, gay news, Washington Blade
Night Shift 2.0 won’t reopen following the coronavirus shutdown. (Photo by Ed Gunts)

When LGBTQ bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen in Baltimore this month, one club didn’t come back.

The managers of Night Shift 2.0, the East Baltimore club created last summer by former staffers of the Baltimore Eagle, have decided to close the business permanently, according to a posting on Facebook.

“It is with a heavy and sad heart to announce that whenever the Coronavirus pandemic is over, Night Shift 2.0 will not be reopening,” the message said in part.

“The reasons are not important, what is important is that thanks to our supporters, patrons, regulars, performers, hosts, DJ’s, producers, dancers, bartenders, staff and managers, we experienced 6 months of unbelievable fun and excitement that made memories to last a lifetime. For that, we’re forever grateful.”

Night Shift 2.0 opened last September at 1725 Ponca St., replacing a former female strip club that catered to night shift workers at the former General Motors plant and other businesses in the mostly industrial area.

The staff came from the Baltimore Eagle after the landlords there decided to change management and temporarily close the business at 2022 N. Charles St.

When Night Shift opened, marketing and events manager Chris Jay said the operators weren’t trying to create a hard-core leather bar like the Eagle. Jay said they wanted to provide an “adult entertainment experience” where everyone in the LGBTQ community felt welcome.

The Oct. 4 grand opening included a drag show hosted by entertainers Betty O’Hellno and Shawnna Alexander, and Sunday Karaoke was a popular feature.

“I want this to be Wonderland for people,” Jay told the Washington Blade. “I want you just to be able to walk in the door and be like, OK, I belong here.”

Night Shift 2.0 was forced to close temporarily in mid-March, when Gov. Larry Hogan shut down all of Maryland’s bars, nightclubs and restaurants to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and managers decided not to reopen during the hiatus. Another LGBTQ-friendly business in Baltimore that won’t reopen is City Café in Mount Vernon, whose owners announced in May that they were closing after 25 years.

The Baltimore Eagle, meanwhile, reopened in November with operators Tom Kiple and David Lessner, closed in March as part of the statewide shutdown, and has been offering curbside pickup service for alcohol and items from its leather shop. As of this Friday and Saturday, its main bar will be open with limited capacity from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. – the first time that’s happened since March.

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