G.A.Y. Lounge closes in Mount Vernon after less than a year in business

The G.A.Y. Lounge, a recent addition to Baltimore’s gay-bar scene, has closed.

Opened in late April in the former Ware House 518 space, the Mount Vernon bar and restaurant announced the closure on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, and co-owner Robert Gay confirmed the news.

Gay declined to comment further, and directed questions to co-owner Joshua Persing, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Facebook announcement blamed the closing on a contract dispute with the previous owners, Ezra Tilaye and Tegist Ayalew of Ware House 518.

“Unfortunately, when we entered into this venture, we entered with what we thought, was a concrete contract with the previous owner. Contract and legal jargon aside, the bottom line is that this contract has become more fluid than we are comfortable with, and at this time, we do not have the ability to keep up or comply with the ever-changing demands and expectations,” the Facebook message reads.

Tilaye declined to comment on Wednesday.

Ownership said it plans to reopen the restaurant in the future, according to the social media post.

“We want you to know that we have every intention of coming back, and coming back better than before. When the time is right and the cards fall back into place, we plan to recreate this dream of ours and rekindle the spark that ignited so quickly here in a small corner bar in Mount Vernon.”

Although short-lived, the G.A.Y. Lounge made its presence known with live performances, karaoke night and drag brunches. Its arrival came at a time when some in the local LGBT community argued Mount Vernon had lost its footing as Baltimore’s “gayborhood.”

Before the G.A.Y. Lounge opened, Persing said he hoped to attract a younger crowd with electronic dance music and shareable plates of food to inject some new life into Mount Vernon.

“I don’t think the gay community is gone from Mount Vernon,” Persing said at the time. “There needs to be some new approaches to attract some new attention to the community. We’re trying to do just that.”




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UPDATE (5:05 p.m. Oct. 11): This article has been updated to include additional details behind G.A.Y. Lounge’s closure.

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