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Bar Closings

Popular lesbian bar closes, but owners vow to reopen in new location

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The Usual bar in Houston with crowd in patio
The Usual has been a popular gathering spot for the lesbian community. The Usual - Neighborhood Pub/Facebook
The Usual - Neighborhood Pub
Get Directions - 5519 Allen St. Houston

Trying to find a lesbian bar in Houston seems at times like going on the quest for the holy grail. Chances shut down in late 2010 when owner Nick Vastakis decided to move out of bar management and into property development, and recently The Usual Neighborhood Pub has joined the list. Owners of the bar, located near T.C. Jester and the Katy Freeway, announced its fate on its Facebook page:

We are closing The Usual for good at this location but we are on the hunt for our new spot! We planned on remodeling but our landlord refused to pay for all the roofing and electrical needs (as most of you know was much needed) … we unfortunately had to make the decision to move…we will be absent for a short while but will return soon and can't wait to see all of you! We can't thank everyone enough for being apart of this great bar, all of you have made it what it is and that's something to remember!…keep you posted!”

Last last week, regulars gathered with current management and past employees to pay tribute to the bar as it closed. Owners could not be reached for comment.

The Houston Press named the bar to its list of Top 10 Gay Bars, Clubs & Icehouses last summer, citing a great selection of microbrews and Internet jukebox, air hockey, a large patio with picnic benches and dog-friendly environs, and describing the atmosphere as "a little like Cheers with better decor and a better beer selection."

For now, it looks like the only dedicated lesbian bar left is the newly renovated Pearl Bar. Other options include Guava Lamp and JR’s Bar and Grill, which draw a gay clientele but are lesbian-friendly, and newcomer Barbarella, an alternative bar that draws a gay-and-lesbian-friendly crowd.

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