Metro Weekly

Phase 1 Temporarily Closed for Renovations

Club owner ends speculation over closure of country's oldest lesbian bar

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Photography by Ward Morrison

Allen Carroll, owner of Phase 1 of Capitol Hill,  is speaking out after rumors swirled regarding the temporary closure of the bar. 

Rumor of the bar’s closing grew on social media, with many speculating it could be permanent. According to management, Carroll had said last Saturday he intended to close for renovations, but had given no timeline or specific dates. An employee who asked not to be named said staff members had been unsure as to whether Carroll would open for regular business on Thursday.

“In preparations for the upcoming 45th anniversary for Phase 1 of Capitol Hill, we will be closed for some sprucing up,” Carroll told Metro Weekly in an exclusive statement. “We will reopen soon with a fresh look, and new lighting and sound.”

First opened in 1970, Phase 1 is the oldest continually operating lesbian bar in the United States. It’s also  among the oldest LGBT-specific venues in Washington. The bar is typically open evenings from Thursday to Sunday.

In his statement, Carroll acknowledged community support.

“Thank you for your continued support of the nation’s singularly owned and longest operating ladies’ bar. Without your support of the last 45 years, we would not exist,” Carroll said. “My late business partner, Chris Jansen, and I worked extremely hard to bring Phase 1 to Capitol Hill, and I will continue to work hard and provide our ladies with a bar they can call home. Again, thank you for your support.”

The bar had previously been scheduled to host the second annual Lez Sing Karaoke Contest, on Friday, Jan. 9, taking more than a few community members by surprise. Megan McKellar, speaking on behalf of organizers of the Lez Sing Karaoke Contest, confirmed that the event has since been moved to Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW, with the contest slated to kick off at 8 p.m.

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