As Hershee Bar closes for good, supporters share stories of the past 35 years

Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 17:35:06-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The doors are closing on a local LGBTQ landmark. After 35 years in business, the Hershee Bar is set to be demolished.

Many citizens are outraged and upset because they said when the world has been cruel, Hershee Bar has been a place of comfort and acceptance.

"Most of us found the bar because we needed something. We needed the community. We needed a place where we could be ourselves," said longtime patron Barb James.

The business is located in the Five Points community off of Sewells Point Road in Norfolk. The establishment opened as the area's only lesbian bar in 1983 but later became a safe haven for all people.

The City of Norfolk purchased the longstanding LGBTQ bar for $1.5 million back in June. City leaders said the sale is part of efforts to spruce up the area.

While the city has not announced what they plan to do with the property, they told News 3 the building is set to be demolished.

They said "some type of development that compliments the corridor and fits the vision of the area" is set to come in the future.

In last week's council meeting, Mayor Kenny Alexander said, "We will find a solution... We believe that there should be a community, [an] inclusive, diverse community where all people in Norfolk can live."

Those who call Hershee Bar home said while they appreciate those words, not enough is being done and knocking down the bar is like losing a family member.

"It's not coming for that warm meal or that safe place to go where your family doesn't want you. It's a huge loss," said manager, Brendan Mulligan.