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'Raising the Bars' Initiative to Elevate the History of Gay Bars

A splashy momentous event crediting the safe havens that gay bars have provided across the country launched proudly this past week. Stonewall National Museum, Archives and Library and The Gay Barchives Project announced ‘RAISING THE BARS,' a national initiative to further document and preserve gay history through LGBTQ+ Bars that served as safe havens of the past and present.

Among the many supporters who celebrated were;

Dick Woelfle, founder of [GayTV]

Johnny Pak, owner Alibi Monkey Bar [WM] and Monkey Bar [Ptown, MA]

Andy Martin, local real estate owner and widower of Tony Dee

Julian Cavasos, Wilton Collective/ Julian's Fountain of Youth

Gary VanHorn, president WMBA

Rick Karlin, author of 'Last Call Chicago' [2022] and 'Last Call South Florida' [2024]

Diane Resnick, owner Tap That Ash

Alan Beck, owner Fun Travel Guides

Glen Weinzimer, owner Bona Italian/ Aperitivo and founder, Smart Ride

“The entire structure from history and exhibits, to competition and locations, is well underway, and we’re proud to be a part of this historical plan that has already blossomed into a wonderful outreach program,” said Robert Kesten, Executive Director, Stonewall National Museum, Archives and Library.

"Gay bars have always held a special place in my heart. They allowed me to find a welcoming community of people I could call a family; they provided safe spaces for me to meet new friends, share concerns about political issues and meet romantic partners. I have spent the last few years diligently researching the histories of these places and preserving the memories of our safe havens, which are so often ignored by historians. Collaborating with the Stonewall National Museum Archives &Library on 'Raising the Bars' brings this mission to the next level," said Art Smith, Founder, Gay Barchivist,

About Stonewall Museum National Museum, Archives & Library

Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library is one of the largest gay archives and libraries in the USA, with a 12-month schedule of exhibitions on LGBTQ themes and public programs, including author presentations, films, panel discussions, and collaborative events at its museum and library in South Florida and in cities across the United States. Stonewall National Museum, Archives and Library (, an invaluable yet small 501c3, in recognizing the inspiring works of leading figures in America’s LGBTQ+ community capped with the message ‘Stonewall Is For All.’

About Raising the Bars

‘Raising the Bars' is an innovative archiving project dedicated to preserving the memories of the thousands of bars and safe spaces that have served and nurtured our community for decades, and to the celebration of the thousands of venues that continue to embrace our LGBTQ+ community today. Through this initiative we will change the future of gay archiving.

About GayBarchives

GayBarchives is an independent research project committed to the documentation of the bars, restaurants and safe spaces that played an important role in the growth and development of our queer community. Their Facebook group is an interactive forum to share first-hand stories of gay bar experiences. Their website,, makes this information easily accessible. #GayBarchives


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