The City of Atlanta is designating gay bar Atlanta Eagle as a historic landmark, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms annouced earlier this month.
This makes the Atlanta Eagle the first recognized and protected LGBTQ+ landmark in the Deep South, a Historic Atlanta representative told the local channel WXIA-TV.
“The Atlanta Eagle has a rich history and is a beloved place for so many people in Atlanta and across the world,” Bottoms said in her announcement. ”The bar is also one of the Southeast’s most famous LGBTQ social establishments and has hosted legendary drag performers like Ru Paul and Lady Bunny that promote LGBTQ equality and HIV/AIDS education."
The bar has been temproarily shuttered as part of the city-wide closures of such establishments but the landmark designation will help it stay in its current building.
“Many have called the Atlanta Eagle home over the last three decades,” noted owner Richard Ramey in the press release by the city. “I am grateful to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City of Atlanta for ensuring that many more can call it home in the years to come.”
Bottoms said the designation by the Department of City Planning’s Historic Preservation Studio and the Urban Design Commission prevents the demolition or alteration of the outside of the building without the commission’s approval.
The three-decade-old leather and levi bar has played a significant role in the city's large LGBTQ+ community. In 2009, following a police raid, Atlanta Eagle staff and patrons sued the city over alleged harassment. Six officers were fired.
The Atlanta Eagle features a dance floor, three bars, an expansive deck, and its own leather shop.