MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - An iconic LGBT hot spot is closing its doors but not before it opens for the public one last night, Tuesday.
After nearly 30 years, the Palace Bar and its daily Drag Show are leaving Ocean Drive.
“This place is all about entertainment the arts — it’s like a Las Vegas show on Ocean Drive,” said bar employee Ladonna Brinkely. “Everybody comes — gay, straight, old, young — it doesn’t matter. We’re just here to entertain.”
However, the Palace is proving the party can’t be stopped, as it looks for a new location.
After Tuesday’s Fourth of July block party, the landmark location at 12th and Ocean will be closed. The Palace was originally a cafe until 1988 — when the LGBT community moved in.
“When I bought Palace — I bought Palace 10 years ago — and I bought it to bring it back for the community,” owner Thomas Donald said.
But as rent on the beach continues to rise, smaller privately-owned businesses — such as the Palace — struggle to stay open.
“The rent is becoming so high that, you know, we’re all being pushed out,” Donald said. “Lincoln Road has started that same trend. It’s what’s happening here on Ocean Drive now.”
Customers are blaming the move on what they call corporate greed, as businesses that cater to the gay community leave Ocean Drive one-by-one, many of them are re-emerging in Wilton Manors.
“It’s a very trying time for the country, no matter what side of the aisle your on, it’s a trying time, and I think LGBTQ people in particular are feeling like our rights may be in question — and we’re moving with trepidation, and this place represents so much freedom of expression,” said local Dale Stine.
Latrice Royale, a local celebrity in the LGBT community is making a guest appearance for one last show-stopping performance. She was the bar’s reigning queen before staring on the hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“Oh my God, it’s so good to be home. One last time, but it’s all good because we are here to celebrate the Palace, and we’re going out the right way,” Royale said.
This is not a goodbye for the Palace. It’s goal is to be back up and running in about two months.
“Thank you, Tom, for having this dream and just for being able to allow us to work and give our talent — dreams and everything,” said Missy Meyakie Le Paige.
You can join the festivities at Palace Bar’s Last Dance Block Party beginning at 4 p.m.
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