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The Barn closes for good


The Barn closes for good

Popular nightclub may reopen under new ownership
After more than 20 years, Toronto gay club The Barn/Stables has cleared its dancefloor for good.

General manager Russell Palloo, who has worked at the bar for five years, says it’s time for The Barn to take a bow. The bar hosted a farewell party on Aug 8.

“The Barn is closed for good,” he says. “It has come to a point where it has had its run. Unfortunately, it’s not something we can actually market anymore. The places where people go out have changed, their desires have changed, and unfortunately, The Barn is not something that can keep up with those desires anymore."

Toronto has many choices for gay folks looking for a night out, and Palloo says The Barn had a difficult time competing for partiers.

College Night on Wednesdays has always been a moneymaker, but the weekends just were not profitable, he says. “This is not the environment people want to go out in . . . It would need significant, significant, renovation in order to keep up.”

Palloo would not say what the cost would be to update and renovate The Barn.

Although the bar is closed, the property has not yet been sold, Palloo says, noting a local person is currently negotiating a deal to take over the business.

The prospective buyer is interested in reopening the space as a nightclub.

Palloo, who has been at the reins since The Barn reopened in 2007 under its current owners, expects the deal to be finalized in the fall. He also hopes to stay on and manage the business when it opens under new ownership.

“I was a patron of The Barn for years,” he says. “I am sad to see it come to an end because it is a landmark in our community, but at the same time, as a business person and a patron, I’m happy to see it go out with dignity.”

Palloo says he is heartened knowing a future hotspot will replace The Barn. The new club will not bear the same name.

“There’s been strong reaction already from the community,” he says. “People are sad to see it go, but it’s not the end for the actual space. People are happy to hear there will be something in its place.”

The Barn first opened in the 1980s, Palloo says. The nightclub then closed in 2004 after its original owner, Janko Naglic, was found dead in his Davisville-area home on Oct 27, 2004

The death led to a homicide investigation and, eventually, a murder trial.

The Barn reopened on Halloween in 2007.

Inside The Barn, staff added a moving tribute to Naglic; his black-and-white portrait now graces the mantel of the first-floor fireplace.

In 2008, after a month-long trial, a jury acquitted Ivan Mendez-Romero, Naglic’s longtime lover.
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I will miss it. Back in the day I sucked so much cock in that building. Good times.
The Barn, just a building
I don’t agree with those who think the Barn should be kept the way it is or “incorporated into a future condo project”. The building has been on the verge of collapsing for years, has no real historical or architectural value and frankly, it’s not even THAT good looking.

There are two things we have to stop doing:

1-Be all mushy and overly sentimental every time a so-called old building is demolished, UNLESS it has some architectural merit.

2-Stop incorporating old building facades into glass towers, like was done at the north-east corner of Yonge and Queen and more recently to the newly-completed Murano Condos on Bay street. It’s an idiotic way to approach architecture and it only preserves buildings that are not even worth keeping.

While we’re on the subject, I would add that the adjacent buildings should always be taken into consideration. I cringe every time I look at what was done to the 519, when the built that ultramodern addition. Who the heck approves such monstrosities at City Hall?
And HISTORY is reminded
As the Barn closes it's doors, I remember when the QUEST was on young street, and Bemelmens was on Bloor Street ... all these legends are passing onto history ... I can never forget how much of those places shaped some of my views, and how also they also made me pause and ask the important questions such as IS this really right for me ... WITH OUT SHAME ... I am happy that the BARN was a part of my formitive years of growing up as a Gay guy ! I did make some real friends along the way from the BARN days. Maybe from the far shores of Europe today, I wave my hat with THANK YOU ! for being a part of my history!
how does one market a bar to older demographic?
“how does one market a bar to an "older" demographic?" 1. No BullShit at the door --no power-trips by doormen 2. No entry fee unless it's a special event 3. No ID hassles unless you really look underage. HELPUL, FRIENDLY -GAY- STAFF and FRIENDLY GAY SECURITY. Music one can dance to. Some interesting lighting on the dance-floor. Some quiet spaces for conversation. General easy going atmosphere.
Why is Zippers full?
The real question is why is Zippers packed? WHY? We know its not the decor, but the question you need to ask is why.-

1. They have good music
2. They have a no BS door entry. NO cover guys. I am not sure why in hell The Barn refused to stop doing this is beyond me.- While the FLY charges a cover, you have a totally different environment; but you are paying for the light show- something the barn clearly does not have.- not sure why this was never upgraded. Even Zippers BTW has better lighting; with the laser lights.
3. Ask yourself why Sundays at Zippers with retro 80's- BTW is a great hit- why is it packed?

Bottom line, I loved the Barn - but I stopped going because the door charge was outrageous ; and security always shut down floors.- The music sucked, and there was no lights on the dance floor. Do not tell me its because we dont want to go. The barn is HUGE< and it use to be the place to go outside of the FLY. but when you charge a door charge, and have no lights; horrible tribal music, - not dance music, horrible lighting, and you charge a door charge, and have the worst security ever -thats the reason.

Ask WHY zippers is full every weekend? WHY is that? i just stated above. - Hopefully the new owners can reverse this.
George, Dave, Dante, Ken....
Out of genuine curiosity, how does one market a bar to an "older" demographic? Specifically speaking. i.e. decor, music, events...?
Reply to George and Menardino
So true on all counts. Hopefully an owner who knows what they are doing will take over.
I didn't feel welcome at the new Barn either
I didn't feel welcome at the Barn either after it changed management. One night some retarded doorman asked me for ID, when I looked clearly older than him. I told I don't need to show him ID because we live in a democratic country not in the USA. Then he accused me of being drunk to prevent me from going in. A barman on break told him to shove and took me in as his guest. The atmosphere changed with new management.
A note to the new owners
If the place is indeed sold, then the new owners should note that the old Barn patrons have not gone away and would love a place where they could hang, Make the place friendly to the leather denim crowd. Make the venue accessible without Airport like security being shoved up your ass. Turn the lights down and make the music fun not tribal. Get rid of that mandatory coat check and let the party begin. If you need examples look at Zipperz no hassle environment. The Black Eagle is another example. Let the men of our community have a place they can just relax in and be themselves. The village needs it. Older guys are stable and loyal customers. If the place is yet again turned over to the younger crowd, the same thing will happen. That demographic rhetoric that Russell uses is crap but sounds good on paper. So listen up!
What did you expect
Russel practically chased all the male over 30's crowd away. Making the Barn, once the best place to cruse and party, a place for boys and straight girls. Who by the way have no damn money. Honestly what an idiot. I contacted him many times trying to convince him to get the crowd who made the Barn a success back. Nope he wouldn't change a thing. He wanted twinks. No leather or denim, non of that. Over lit dance floor, trans music. brutal security, unfriendly staff, mandatory this and that. Oh and Russel, don't try and claim you tried to get the old crowd back. You could not have tried harder to make sure the venue was completely unwelcoming for the old Barn patrons. We did try and come back. The place could not have been more different. So shove it. You tried to pull that justification crap on me as well. It didn't fly then and it won't fly now.


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