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Popular Piedmont Heights LGBTQ-friendly bar, restaurant could shutter for a bank

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It wouldn’t be the first example of a queer-centric Atlanta establishment being displaced by new development

a photo of the bar
Cowtippers, in all its Wild West-style glory.
Google Maps

Another LGBTQ-embracing establishment in Atlanta is being threatened by new development.

At the corner of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive, in the Piedmont Heights neighborhood northeast of Midtown, Cowtippers Steaks & Spirits could be on the chopping block, thanks to tentative plans to build a new Chase Bank, according to Project Q Atlanta.

Owned by Metrotainment Cafes, the popular restaurant has served food and drinks to crowds of LGBTQ people (and anyone else) for about 25 years.

Cowtippers management had worried the business would shutter in January to make way for a Beltline-adjacent development, although that project never panned out, leaving some hope for the beloved establishment.

But last month, Tomorrow’s News Today discovered that a representative for Chase Bank had gone before the Beltline Design Review Committee to propose the new 3,470-square-foot branch project.

Metrotainment Cafes has told Project Q the bank deal isn’t yet set in stone. But if Cowtippers should fall, it wouldn’t be the first popular queer-centric business to succumb recently to the forces of gentrification.

At the end of November, popular LGBTQ dive bar Model T was forced to close after serving as a homey watering hole for 26 years.

Model T once operated at the ground floor retail strip of the Ford Factory Lofts in Poncey-Highland.

Lately, however, the bar’s front entrance had been obstructed by construction fencing and Dumpsters from the neighboring 725 Ponce project—a nearly $200 million mixed-use development replacing the former “Murder Kroger”—which is under construction along the Beltline’s Eastside Trail.

Model T, in the shadow of 725 Ponce’s construction.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

In late 2017, Jungle, a popular gay nightclub on Cheshire Bridge Road, near Lindbergh, was forced to close as an apartment complex was built next door.

About four years before that, The Armory in Midtown surrendered to the wrecking ball to clear space for a residential high-rise.

And in the early 2000s, another LGBTQ club called Backstreet closed down after the City of Atlanta barred it from serving alcohol 24 hours a day.

These are just a few examples of LGBTQ-friendly businesses being uprooted in Atlanta, but not replaced.

A major development of note that’s bringing a new dose of LGBTQ culture is WRS’s Underground Atlanta revamp, which officials say will include a new gay dance club and cabaret called Future.

But these days, that’s an anomaly.