This is going to sound hokey, but I love the people. We get everybody at the Eagle. People think it’s just a leather bar because they have this preconceived notion about it. But here lately, especially over the past two years, we’ve had a whole new demographic of people. They just enjoy the space.
We want people in our community to see us as a neighborhood bar. Everybody is welcome. The bar owner, Richard (Ramey), came up with a slogan during Pride weekend: “Whatever you’re into, that’s what we are.”
During the weekdays, it still has that leather-esque feel. But on Fridays and Saturdays, we are just one of the most fun places you can be in Atlanta. After 10, which is like the mag-
Sometimes. I remember there was this one guy who liked to dress up in drag but he didn’t feel like he’d be comfortable there. I just told him, “If anybody bothers you, you just let me know. Because you’re welcome here and they’re not.” He loved coming in after that.
Back in September of 2009, the Eagle made national news when it was raided by the Atlanta Police Department. It was later confirmed that the police broke several laws, lied and acted inappropriately to many patrons. Do you think the reputation of the bar was affected by that?
At first, people were really supportive, but then they started to disappear. It kind of co-
December 11, 2015
incided with the timing and use of (social media and dating) apps. Once upon a time, leather bars were kind of thought of as being these crazy hot spots where all of these things were going on. But we’ve had to change our image for the better.
People still find each other there, but that’s the case with any bar. For us, it’s more about finding friendships and being the place where it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, you’re going to have a good time and people are going to love you.
We’d like to hear your best bartender story.
I had a guy that came in. It was his first gay bar experience and I was the first gay bartender that he knew. He was kind of scared. I tried to put him at ease and he ended up feeling so comfortable there that about four months later, on Halloween, he came in with his parents. They were all in costumes and they had the best time together. It was fantastic to see. That’s why I do this.
Mixologist Tony Jackson has been serving Atlanta Eagle customers for eight years. (Photo via Facebook)