One of the Country's Oldest Gay Bars Closes Doors at 71 | NBC Connecticut

One of the Country's Oldest Gay Bars Closes Doors at 71



    Getty Images
    The Cedar Brook is ending seven decades of catering to the gay community.

    After a strong and successful 71 years, what is said to be the oldest gay bar in America, will soon be closing its doors.

    The Cedar Brook Café, on Post Road in Westport, will be open for the last time Saturday June 26.

    When the club opened in 1939, it was a refuge for the gay community, Celm Bellairs, 57, told the Westport News.

    “In the 1970s, when gay people came out more publicly, it was the center of Fairfield County gay life,” Bellairs, who bought the club in 1998, told the Westport News.

    Bellairs said he is closing because of financial issues, the News reports.

    “The landlord died, and the people who bought it doubled my rent,” he told the publication. “I can’t afford it anymore.”

    The close will be especially difficult for Bellairs, who told Westport News he has been going to club since he was 21.

    “I would like to personally thank all the patrons for showing me what pride really means, support and giving me faith in the human race,” he write on the Cedar Brook Café Web site.

    The club will hold a closing party on June 26, complete with male and female pole dancers and drink specials every 30 minutes.

    Cedar Brook Café is one of several places that claim to be the oldest gay bar in the country.

    Café Lafitte in Exile, in New Orleans also claims the destinction and The White Horse Inn, in Oakland California, calls itself the second oldesr gay bar in the country.  White Horse Inn opened in 1942. The White Horse Web site says the Doubleheader in Seattle opened in 1934 and might be the oldest.