One year after the shuttering of the city’s longest-running lesbian bar, the building is being readied for reopening as a non-LGBT venue.
Sisters, at 1320 Chancellor St., abruptly closed down Aug. 12, 2013, after 17 years in business. Longtime owner Mel Heifetz told PGN this week that a new club is expected to open shortly.
“It will reopen in a few weeks, totally redone as a straight bar and restaurant, catering to a new clientele,” Heifetz said. “It will welcome gay business, but not be oriented to our community.”
Heifetz declined to provide further details about the new venue.
Movement for a new club started last fall.
Heiftetz sold the property to Lord Chancellor, LLC, for $750,000 Nov. 4. Property records list the address for Lord Chancellor, LLC as 547 N. Fifth St., owned by John and Margaret Bee. Lord Chancellor was previously associated with 435 Spring Garden St., the site of Silk City Diner, owned by Mark Bee.
A company called Justaplumber, founded last fall and helmed by Thomas and Mark Bee, submitted a license-transfer request to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in October, which was granted Dec. 20.
City property records also indicate that Heifetz sold 1322 Chancellor St., the former space of the now-defunct Key West Bar that was adjacent to Sisters, to Lord Chancellor in April 2012.
Heifetz noted the tough financial realities facing local nightlife venues.
“Most bars today struggle to survive with spiraling costs each year, between higher taxes, higher rents and insurance costs exceeding $50,000 a year,” he said. “Good business is limited to but a few hours each week and with bad weather or competition from other bars, your week can be without profit or even a loss.”
Former Sisters manager Denise Cohen is in the midst of an online fundraising campaign to generate capital for a new lesbian bar. For more information, visit https://www.indie-gogo.com/projects/lesbian-and-gay-bar-philadelphia.