Tel Aviv’s Last LGBTQ Bar, Evita, Closes Its Doors For Good

evita tel aviv bar
Last week flier, via Evita.

In case you were wondering, the case of the disappearing LGBTQ bars and nightclubs in an era of increased acceptance and the rise of dating apps is a phenomenon that stretches well beyond the United States.

Related: Paradise Lost: How Gay Meccas Are Slowly Disappearing Because Of Rising Rents

Tel Aviv, Israel‘s most diverse and accepting city, has just lost its last remaining LGBTQ bar, Evita, which closed its doors for the final time Saturday after a 12 year run.

Pride party every day! #evitatelaviv

A photo posted by Evita Bar (@evitatelaviv) on

According to the newspaper Haaretz, it served as an anchor for the gay community and was particularly popular among tourists. While other bars in the city cater to a mixed clientele and are LGBTQ-friendly, Evita was alone as a specifically LGBTQ venue.

“We had a wild time here, 12 years,” said Shay Rokach, one of the three founders. “This place has raised generations of people from the community. For many people Evita is the first place they went to, the first kiss, the first love and the place that accepted them without being judgmental. Lots of parents came here visiting their sons and daughters after they came out of the closet. Several mothers of partygoers came here this evening when they heard that Evita is closing, and came to celebrate with us.”

Related: Queer Celebs Share Their First Gay Bar Experience

“Dear Evita, tears are streaming from my eyes as I write,” someone wrote in the guest book placed in the center of the bar. “Evitoosh is family. A second home. A place where I grew up. Twelve unforgettable years.”

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A photo posted by Evita Bar (@evitatelaviv) on

The owners are keeping mostly quiet about the circumstances around the closure of the bar.

“We would have continued for another 30 years, but in this particular place it doesn’t work out,” Rokach said, adding that their lease had come to an end and there are plans to open another place in the future.

Related: Pride Takes Over Tel Aviv And Its A Feast For The Eyes

“The apps may have replaced other things. People do like to go out and drink, and there will be something new. We will survive,” said actor Tal Kalai, also known as the drag queen Talula Bonet, who regularly performed at Evita.