Iconic gay night club Embers closing its doors in Portland

Embers in Portland. (KPTV)

After 48 years in Portland, Embers dance club and bar is closing its doors.

Embers opened in 1969 – one of just a handful of gay bars in the Portland area at the time. It quickly became a symbol of the local LGBTQ community, but it wasn’t long before the word got out about Embers’ epic dance parties and drag shows.

Embers has since turned into a major staple of Portland’s entertainment scene for gay and straight people alike. According to the bar’s Facebook page, owner Steve Suss recently suffered a severe stroke and he is unable to keep Embers open.

Iconic drag performers Poison Waters and Darcelle are close with Suss. Darcelle opened his club just two years before Embers. They say Portland is losing an important piece of history.

“You know, people talk about a safe space,” Poison Waters remembered. “It was a safe space, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, sexually. People could go there and just be free and be who they are in that location.”

“The people we know that have started there, will never get it out of their hearts,“ said Darcelle.

Embers’ final event was set to take place at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, called "The Last Dance."

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


Recommended for you