The Albuquerque Social Club, an LGBTQ bar, drag club and community gathering spot, has shut down for good. The club becomes the latest in a series of queer venue shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Albuquerque Social Club originally opened in the 1970s under the name The Heights. It changed names several times until 1983 when it became the Albuquerque Social Club, which it had remained ever since. Unlike other queer bars around the city–and indeed around the nation–the Albuquerque Social Club catered to both men and women and attracted a diverse swath of LGBTQ people during its tenure. The bar also played host as a meeting spot and fundraising venue at key moments in queer history, including the AIDS crisis and push for marriage equality.
But no more, according to The Albuquerque Journal. The Social Club’s board of directors voted to shut down the venue permanently on Monday night, citing financial difficulties prompted by the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 had forced the Social Club to close in mid-March.
“We waited as long as we could to make the decision, but because we were not bringing money in we aren’t able to sustain our creditors,” board president Jay Decker told The Albuquerque Journal. “We tried to save it and we had to make a very tough decision, and it’s a decision a lot of us aren’t happy with. But we have to live with it and it’s not an easy thing to live with.”
The Albuquerque Social Club is just the latest in an ominous number of LGBTQ venues closing across the nation due to financial problems brought on by the coronavirus. The Social Club joins the likes of Gym Bar and Flaming Saddles in West Hollywood, The Stud in San Francisco, The Eagle and Secrets in Washington DC, as well as ’Bout Time 2 in Austin as a casualty of COVID-19. Other historic bars, including Twin Peaks in San Francisco, and Julius & The Stonewall Inn in New York have also expressed financial uncertainty because of the crisis.