Local

Advocates Fight To Save Popular Gay Club Threatened By MARTA Plan

MARTA has said it will include Historic Atlanta in the formal process of identifying historic properties that would be affected by the proposed Clifton corridor light rail project.
MARTA has said it will include Historic Atlanta in the formal process of identifying historic properties that would be affected by the proposed Clifton corridor light rail project.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE
'Add to My List' icon 'Added to My List' icon Add to My List In My List

Perched in Atlanta’s Cheshire Bridge corridor amid restaurants and adult video stores, the Heretic prides itself on being one of the city’s oldest gay bars.

Charlie Paine, chair of the LGBTQ historic preservation advisory for Historic Atlanta, said it all started in the 1970s when Atlanta became a hotbed for gay advocacy.

“There are very few gay spaces that have maintained themselves in the gay community and survived,” he said.

Like many adult businesses on Cheshire Bridge, the Heretic — sandwiched between Buckhead and Midtown — has survived a lot. It’s seen everything from unfriendly zoning laws and gentrification, to, at times, public contempt, to name a few. Now, it is facing extinction by  MARTA’s Clifton Corridor, a project that would link Lindbergh station to Avondale.

“Heretic is one of the last buildings from that era that has continued to thrive. So to lose it, we really would be losing one of the last gay spaces in Cheshire Bridge Road,” Paine said.

In a statement, MARTA officials said they would review the advocates’ demand in due time when the project enters its environmental review stage.

“MARTA appreciates the history of The Sports Page and The Heretic and understands the importance of these properties,” the statement said.  “The communities we serve are an integral part of the decision-making process, and we thank Historic Atlanta for their continued involvement and feedback.”