Burkhart's Pub closes for good - CBS46 News

Burkhart's Pub closes for good

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Joshua Rackliffe's apartment could double as his dressing room. For the last three years, he's performed as a drag queen at Burkhart's Pub under the stage name Brigitte Bidet.

He quit last month, when Burkhart's owner Palmer Marsh came under fire for making racist comments online, including calling President Obama the n-word.

After the posts circulated, every entertainer at Burkhart's walked out.

“I consider myself to be progressive and thoughtful and conscious of things in society and so I was like who would I be if I stayed around something like that?” Rackliffe asked.

The bar re-opened without the entertainers but business wasn't the same. On Monday, owner Mary Marsh posted on Facebook that she had to close the bar,  saying she's heartbroken.

She also posted "what was done to Burkhart's was built on lies. We had 28 years of good service to Atlanta and lots of good times and parties."

On Tuesday, CBS46 reporter Ashley Thompson spoke with Marsh by phone. He claims he was intoxicated when he made the Facebook post using the n-word. Palmer said he regrets it and said he has African-Americans in his family. 

“There was no formal apology,” Rackliffe said. “There was no attempt to make things better.”

Still, some entertainers say the Marshs' showed their true colors. Rackcliffe said the closing of a famed Atlanta gay bar is bittersweet.

“It's unfortunate to lose a space in the gay community, especially the way this developed, but we can create new spaces,” he said. “I don't think that should be the takeaway, that an LBGQIA establishment is closing. It's about the fact that people stood up for what's right and will create new spaces that are more inclusive.”

Rackliffe and many of the other performers now work at my Sister's Room, which is a lesbian owned bar.

The Marshs' still own Burkhart's but they are trying to sell it.

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