It isn’t the oldest gay bar in the Twin Cities, but it’s in the top three! The Brass Rail closed its doors last night with some weird politicizing going on behind the scenes. The place was nose-diving in the past month to the point of obscurity, so it was bound to happen. In case you were curious, the “19 Bar” is the oldest known gay bar to still be in business dating back to the late 1950’s if I’m not mistaken. “The Rail” became a gay bar in 1974 when the current owners, a str8 married couple, changed it from a supper club into a gay bar. The husband died shortly after the purchase and his wife Marguerite owned it up until the early ’90’s. She recently passed away just a few years ago.
“The Rail” was purchased by a petulant spoiled punk who practically ran the clientele out of the bar manually. Long time patrons of the bar vowed never to step foot inside of that bar as long as “The Punk” remained its owner. They’re getting their wish: Peter Hafiz, the current owner of Sneaky Pete’s and the Gay 90’s is forcing a buy-out. Well, that’s not entirely true either, the management staff of the Brass Rail is sort of forcing Pete to take it away from “The Punk”.
Pete, purchased the building from The Punk about a year ago. The guy owned the building and the business, also owned a major landscaping business in Florida where he resides. He fudged on contracts in a major contract in Florida where he was sued for almost everything he had. Looking desperate for cash, he sold the building to Pete and keept the business. During that time, he would routinely call his friends in Minneapolis and ask them to be his spies and report on how the bartenders were doing and how many people were in the bar. It was also common for him to tell his spies that their drinks were free if they would report back to him and when the bartenders look for payment, they were met with a rash of text messages and voice mail and firing the bartender. The following morning, the managers would call The Punk, who lives in Florida to find out why the bartender was “allegedly fired”. The Punk would be confused and proclaim that he had absolutely no knowledge that he even talked with the bartender. He would finish the conversation to brag how much had had to drink night before and wish the manager a nice day!
Pete offered the Petulant Punk $100,000 to purchase the Brass Rail (the business) at the same time he was buying the building from him. The Punk turned him down flat-out thinking the business would be worth more as a separate entity. Now, the business is behind in four months rent which means that Pete can easily say; “Okay, I’ll give you $30,000 for your business, but since you already owe me $20,000 in back-rent, here’s a check for $10,000 and now you go away.”
Or, Pete could simply file for a new liquor license under a whole new name and the four to six weeks it takes to get that to go through, Pete will be busy cleaning up the bar, laying out new carpet and putting up digital monitors on the walls and tidying up the place. Lord knows the bar could use some cleaning up.
Hey… Maybe he could call it “the Fruit Fly Bar” and I would run it! Wouldn’t that be sweet?!