Monday, October 15, 2012

Glasshouse Hotel

Glasshouse Hotel

Glasshouse Hotel
Location: 51 Gipps Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia

Opened: Around 1991 as lesbian space

Closed: December 2011

Here's how she described herself while she was still kicking:

Glasshouse Hotel is the grand old pub of Collingwood, with community, performance and club events. 

Melbourne's lesbian bar, which is mixed on most nights, except for Shebar which is women-only on 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. 

Full kitchen and a huge beer garden. Our chef consistently brings you a variety of quality pub fare through takeaway, pre-ordering and dine-in catering for large and small groups.

The review from yahoo! travel:

The Glasshouse is a gay pub, particularly popular with the lesbian crowd. There is a pool table, as well as a dance floor and a small outdoor courtyard. The ambiance is relaxed, unpretentious and friendly, with live bands on Sunday afternoons. Its location puts it within close striking distance of a number of other gay venues

From yahoo! voices (2006):

A place for the ladies! On Melbourne's North Side, this laid-back lesbian pub offers pool tables, a small dancefloor, and a sense of community for dykes Down Under.

And from

Long recognized as the main—some say the only—lesbian hangout in Melbourne, "the Glassy" is a large, converted brick house on a quiet street. Though it offers an Australian menu for lunch and dinner seven days a week, it's open till 5:00.

At foursquare, she had nothing but great patron reviews. How rare is that???

And then she was gone. Here is the obituary from Staronline, December 5, 2011:

Melbourne’s queer nightlife is shifting again with the sudden announcement The Glasshouse Hotel has closed.
Posting a Facebook message over the weekend, owners said the popular Collingwood pub had closed its doors.
Dykes on Bikes fundaiser at
Glasshouse Hotel (Novemeber 2011)
“Thank you to all the amazing staff and promoters, yes we’ve decided to call it a day,” the venue said on its Facebook wall.
Last month, fellow northside LGBTI-friendly nightspot Neverwhere announced its closure.
Iconic in the community as a women’s watering hole, the Glasshouse was taken over two years ago by lesbian couple Libby and Rachel.
Dykes on Bikes Melbourne held a fundraiser event at the venue as recently as November 25.
Calls made to the venue by the Star Observer have not been returned.
The obituary from same same, December 9, 2011:

Melbourne has lost another iconic queer venue with the closure of Collingwood’s Glasshouse Hotel this past weekend ending its 25 year history as a queer club.

Earlier this year Melbourne saw the closure and sales of three of its iconic gay bars, The Xchange Hotel, DT’s Hotel and The Market Hotel. Two of those bars have since been bought – the former Xchange Hotel is now the DnM gay bar, and DTs too remains serving the gay community.

The Glasshouse Hotel is the latest venue to close this year. Part bar, part diner, part dance club, the venue had a unique place in the scene. For the past 20 years, it has been synonymous with the lesbian and girls scene in Melbourne as well as being a home of Melbourne’s Drag Kings.

The venue originally functioned as a brothel before becoming a gay bar, and slowly transitioned into an iconic lesbian bar 20 years ago. Two years ago, Glasshouse ownership was taken over by lesbian couple Libby and Rachel (pictured below) who opened up the bar’s events schedule to a broader queer scene including events such as Quork Mutant Disco, the SLUT parties and the infamous Gay Shame parties.
Glass House Hotel owners
Libby and Rachel

The closure announcement came via a brief message from the owners via Facebook:

“Thank you to all the amazing staff and promoters, yes we’ve decided to call it a day.”

Shock and sadness to the news was evident through the posts on the venue’s website and social marketing pages, with many thanking the venue and owners for all the memories and community support, and others saying it was sad that community spirit didn’t equate to financial support towards the venue, and that was what lead to the hotel’s demise.

“Thank you to all the wonderful people we met and to all those that helped support us we are eternally greatful,” the owners said in a statement to Same Same. “We were very sad and so so sorry to have had to close but it just could not sustain itself at all.”

Upcoming scheduled events at the Glasshouse, including those booked over Midsumma, now have to find a new home.

The organisers of the popular SHEBAR, which was set to be at the Glasshouse hotel on 10 December, say that event has been cancelled. SHEBAR has now moved their NYE event to their new home at The Royal Derby at 446 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

The Glasshouse Hotel space is currently being rented out and used as a temporary retail outlet.

This is something I have seen with a lot of lesbian bar closures. They attempt to widen their customer base by going more "queer"--and it just doesn't work.

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