Lights out for Monterey’s last gay bar

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Bay Area Reporter

Thursday September 27, 2007

The city of Monterey's last gay bar has closed.

Patrons packed the Lighthouse Bar and Grill Saturday, September 15 for a bittersweet goodbye. The bar had been open for more than 10 years.

Rod Montre, who visited the bar as a patron and as a community educator who tested people for HIV, wrote in an e-mail, "This was a neighborhood gay bar where the GLBT community felt safe ... we would meet people that are GLBT-identified from everywhere on the earth at the Lighthouse."

Greg Moreno, one of the bar's owners, told the Monterey County Herald that business had been rough. The Bay Area Reporter was unable to reach Moreno or the other owner.

Montre said that up to 300 people came to the bar on weekends, and from 25 to 100 people were there on weeknights.

There were once six gay bars in the area, he said. Now, the only gay-identified bar around is Franco's Norma Jean's in Castroville.

As for what Monterey's LGBT community will do now, Montre said, "The Lighthouse bar was a business, but we are a gay and lesbian community of friends, so there will always be a place."

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