Toledo Talk

Bretz is closing

We would like to start this post by thanking all of our customers and staff, past and present for over 30 years of support not only to Bretz but to the LGBT community in Toledo. Tomorrow evening, December 21st will be our last night. Bretz has been sold, with the new owners taking possession Friday afternoon. While we’re not sure about what’s in store for 2012 Adams, we want to thank you all for allowing us to serve you the past three decades. So come out as we flip on “The Bretz Neon” sign one last time tomorrow for dollar night. Doors open at 10PM. From their facebook.

created by stooks on Dec 20, 2017 at 03:48:25 pm     Comments: 34

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Haven't been there in years. I guess too many others haven't either. Still, sad to see it close. On the bright side, perhaps the new owner will make a real go of it.

posted by Foodie on Dec 20, 2017 at 03:59:19 pm     #  

Crowds in recent years have really fluctuated from packed to sparse. I'll miss the place, and also think it is sad another safe space for LGBTQ people in Toledo is closing. My wife and I plan to try to make it tomorrow night.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on Dec 20, 2017 at 04:31:17 pm     #  

Anyone know what the new owners have planned?

posted by ckbeats21 on Dec 20, 2017 at 04:44:33 pm     #  

Sounds like it's a mystery to most of the uptown business owners. Super curious to see what's next! Nolan, if you find anything out tomorrow, please let us know...

posted by upso on Dec 20, 2017 at 06:17:12 pm     #   1 person liked this

Nolan_Rosenkrans posted at 04:31:17 PM on Dec 20, 2017:

Crowds in recent years have really fluctuated from packed to sparse. I'll miss the place, and also think it is sad another safe space for LGBTQ people in Toledo is closing. My wife and I plan to try to make it tomorrow night.

Some of us have been working pretty damn hard to make sure every place is a safe place for LGBTQ people. If it was all for nothing, I will turn in my minister license and stop being a straight white conservative who marries them. I mean... if it all hinges on one bar, not in the hearts of thousands of us.

posted by justread on Dec 20, 2017 at 09:02:06 pm     #  

Aw man. :( Lots of great memories there.

posted by endcycle on Dec 21, 2017 at 09:44:22 am     #  

I phoned a good friend of mine who I went to high school and college with who moved out of Toledo with the news last night.

I went with him a couple times when we were in college and it was a fun time. He told me that the last time he was there was a few years ago when he was home for Thanksgiving and felt like a senior citizen at the time and it was mostly young people and if you were over 25 you were out of the demographic. And he said to be fair that the reason he liked the place as a college student was because it was a younger crowd and enjoyed being around people his own age. He also stated that it felt like there were more hetrosexuals there than gay people. He said a lot of gay bars are closing up but thinks it is also a positive thing seeing that means most establishments are now accepting of all people.

A gay nephew of mine that is a college student who grew up in the Columbus area came home to visit some family Thanksgiving weekend and went there and wasn't that impressed. We all went out to Poco Loco for dinner the day before thanksgiving and a couple margarita's and him and my niece decided to walk over and check it out and Uber it back to our place after. He thought the people were pretty stuck up and quite a few hetrosexuals and my niece joked that she was getting hit on more by the guys than my nephew.

My nephew said gay bars are closing up in Columbus as well. He said that in addition to gay people preferring to hang out at mainstream bars gay people are finding dates online instead of bars.

posted by classylady on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:29:08 am     #  

Other than the bust for child porn back in the 1980s, I never heard much about Bretz. I gather that it was a fairly safe place to go, and that the crowd was mixed.

I'm not aware of any gay bars in Columbus, although I'm sure there are a few. What I am aware of, generally speaking, is that no one pays much attention to the LGBT-etc. sub-culture. I've never seen discrimination at any bars or restaurants in Columbus.

So-called dive bars don't last long in Columbus. If you know of a neighborhood bar that has sawdust on the floor, four kinds of beer on tap, and between one and three domestic fights every weekend, the place will get discovered and fill up with college kids and upper middle class types looking to slum it for the evening. So, while Joe's Bar in the middle of the block might have been a bit hard on the LGBT-etc. community at one time, that time has passed in favor of long green.

posted by madjack on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:02:10 am     #  

Greg Knott, the guy that owned the bar and was charged with child porn ended up selling the bar to someone else and died in 2010. Larry Blair who owned the Blair Realty company and Blair Lithophane museum had something to do with the financing of the bar and had his real estate office above the bar when he was alive and still a realtor.

I'm surprised they didn't stay open until January 1 since New Years Eve is one of the most profitable nights of the year for bars.

If the owner of the bar also owns the real estate I'm sure he made a nice profit as popular as that area is. I've gone to Claro at 9 p.m. on a weekend or Poco Loco later at night and had trouble finding a parking spot. When Bretz first opened there weren't many businesses in that area open at night and now you have Poco Loco, Ottawa Tavern and some other places nearby.

I used to enjoy going there in college because most of the people there were around my age. But once I reached my mid 30's I felt out of place there. If I want to go to a bar that is considered LGBT in Toledo I prefer Georgjz. George is a great guy who talks to his customers, very friendly crowd and good mix of people.

And Georgjz has great pizza as well. I have ordered take out pizza from there before.

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:40:41 am     #  

Obviously my age showing. Back in the day, I frequented Scaramouche and the OC - where Randy Price - former channel 13 on air personality used to hide in the corner with his entourage (I'm not outing him - he's been an on air talking head in Boston for a long time now and came out years ago) but these days my speed would be more like R House.
In reality, I haven't been to a gay bar in years. Leave that for the youngsters to enjoy.

posted by Foodie on Dec 21, 2017 at 02:52:42 pm     #  

Scaramouche was before my time but I went there when it was Joshua's. I remember the O.C. and the last night/closing party there that was a lot of fun. I remember the owner of the strip where OC was turned into a religious nut and decided to not renew any of the leases on the places because he considered it a "sin strip" OC was there, an adult book store, the Jolly Trolly, an adult movie theater and maybe some other adult businesses. He wouldn't renew leases and then the place sat almost empty for a long time.

My favorite bar was the Copa when it first opened but after a year or so it started going downhill fast.

I think a lot of the problem with Bretz is they continued to cater to a young crowd and the LGBT college age kids really don't care if the bar they go to these days is LGBT or not.

Columbus still has a few popular LGBT bars and in Toledo Georgjz seems to be doing pretty good and Legends just did a nice remodel

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 21, 2017 at 03:15:50 pm     #  

Tells you how long since I've been - had to look up Georgjz as I've not heard of them before. Looks interesting.

posted by Foodie on Dec 21, 2017 at 03:49:17 pm     #  

Georgjz is a pretty nice bar. There's a parking lot next to it and unlike Bretz if you are over 30 you don't feel like a dinosaur:) George does a lot for the community and had the love fest this summer. It's worth driving by the bar just to check out the mural on the wall on the west side of the building.

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 21, 2017 at 04:50:18 pm     #  

upso posted at 06:17:12 PM on Dec 20, 2017:

Sounds like it's a mystery to most of the uptown business owners. Super curious to see what's next! Nolan, if you find anything out tomorrow, please let us know...

So far, the owner won't return my calls, and from what I can gather from staff, they haven't been told what's up. They were also only told yesterday it was closing tonight.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on Dec 21, 2017 at 05:05:26 pm     #  

so strange

posted by upso on Dec 21, 2017 at 06:43:59 pm     #  

Ran into a gay couple I know that lives downtown during the art loop tonight and they haven't been to Bretz in years. They were uptown to have dinner at Poco Loco and check out a couple stores earlier and decided to walk over to Bretz after Poco Loco for one farewell drink to find them closed and didn't realize they weren't open until 10.

They commented that there were quite a few people Uptown and glad they decided to do the bus to Adams street instead of drive because Adams was so packed they probably couldn't have found a parking spot and all the Adams streets establishments seemed to thriving at 7 p.m. They feel that owner isn't in tune with what's going on in her own neighborhood.

Something I found interesting is that they said it's a hetrosexual woman that owns the bar now.

posted by classylady on Dec 21, 2017 at 09:26:56 pm     #  

Great Blade article Nolen.

I thought about going but have to work today and was told there was a line over a block long to get in so decided not to go.

Sounds like Georgjz really benefited last night as well. Some of my friends went there and saw the line and went over to Georgjz and they said a lot of others did the same thing. Between that and the stuff happening in downtown he probably had a pretty good night.

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 22, 2017 at 09:31:13 am     #  

The line to get in last night was around the block.

Thanks, James.

posted by Nolan_Rosenkrans on Dec 22, 2017 at 09:59:22 am     #  

I found out a friend of mine was attacked last night outside of Bretz after he left the bar. Tommy Wilcox was called a "fag" and had the shit beaten out of him. He has a broken nose and I heard he may have a fractured skull and his phone was stolen. He is going to survive and is conscious now and the perp was arrested today.

What the hell is wrong with people? I will walk to Poco Loco or Claro with my boyfriend when the weather is nice and now this has me nervous. I thought that area was pretty safe now but apparently it's now.

posted by classylady on Dec 22, 2017 at 06:25:51 pm     #  

I heard about Tommy. He's a bartender at RHouse. Really sad. According to facebook his nose is broke and he has a hairline facture on his scalp and sounds like it was a hate crime. I'm glad they caught the person.

I'm surprised this story didn't make the news.

The old owner posted this on facebook:
Dear Community,
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every one of you for the tremendous farewell to Bretz last night.
When I took ownership of Bretz a decade ago, I had no idea the different kinds of ups and downs I would face or the wonderful friends and memories I would make. Being a part of this community has had a tremendous impact on me, and I hope I have been able to return this feeling to the community throughout the years.
Bretz was always a special place to many people, for a variety of reasons. Importantly, it provided a safe space where LGBTQ individuals could relax and enjoy themselves at a time when they may not be comfortable or safe expressing themselves elsewhere. LGBTQ bars have, and continue to, serve this function for many that need it.
As society has finally become more accepting of the LGBTQ community, the role these spaces play in the community have diminished, and many have been forced to close when the cost of keeping them open became too much.
Sadly, that’s what happened to this space I love so much on Adams Street. To be blunt, Bretz had been losing money for quite some time when I was approached with an offer to sell the business, along with the building, to an undisclosed buyer.
At first I refused and spoke with other community members and business owners that would be open, willing, and able to purchase Bretz and keep it open for the community. Unfortunately, in the end, none of these options worked.
As you know, with a heavy heart we celebrated one last time before closing the doors last night. While I hope the new owners will reopen, I truly do not know who they are or what their plans are.
In the midst of our farewell celebration, it became even more apparent that those LGBTQ spaces that remain are vital to the community and need to be supported before they have to close their doors.
This was apparent not just in the outpouring of emotion over the closing of Bretz, but in the actions that occurred later that night. As some of you may now know, Tommy Wilcox, bartender at R-House and all-around wonderful person, was physically assaulted after leaving the celebration by individuals using hate slurs. While acceptance may be more wide spread than ever before, there is still a long way to go, and we need these safe spaces to remain. I wish Tommy a speedy recovery, and hope he is out of the hospital in time to enjoy the holidays with his loved ones.
Finally, I want to thank the numerous individuals that have worked for me over the last decade. It’s no secret that some have not gotten along with me or that some are like family to me. Regardless of which of those categories you may belong to, if you worked at Bretz at anytime over the last decade, please know that you’ve meant something special to those that came to Bretz, and to me. I hope all of you (yes, really, ALL of you) find a new place that means as much to you as Bretz did.
I will miss all of you. I will miss the great celebrations we had every year, especially Pride. I will miss you, Bretz.
Sincerely,
Michelle Woda

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 22, 2017 at 09:05:34 pm     #  

Made the Blade-
http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2017/12/26/Man-allegedly-assaulted-called-homophobic-slurs.html

posted by stooks on Jan 03, 2018 at 07:05:57 am     #  

Tommy is recovering and will be ok.

It pisses me off how the city is handling this. They aren't going to treat this as a hate crime and there was no mention of the homophobic slurs in the police report.

How can this not be a hate crime? He was bashed within an inch of his life outside a gay bar and called a couple homophobic slurs.. And I don't understand why they aren't releasing the info on the attacker.

Apparently there have been a couple other robberies in this area recently. This incident has made a couple people I know a little nervous about this area and it's sad because Poco Loco and Ottawa Tavern have done a lot to try to improve it.

I had lunch at Poco Loco yesterday and noticed there was a large construction dumpster in the front of the building on Adams.

On one of the Facebook pages someone reported that the owner of a former bar on Alexis called Pulse was going around bragging he bought it and is going to open up an "urban/hip hop" themed bar there. I don't remember a night club named Pulse on Alexis but from the responses on the facebook post it sounds like the club had a lot of problems and I'm hoping it is a fake rumor and if it is true hopefully it won't cause problems for places like OT and Poco Loco who have helped improved the neighborhood.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 03, 2018 at 11:20:41 am     #  

This would be terrible news.

posted by Xbuckeyex on Jan 03, 2018 at 11:24:07 am     #   1 person liked this

Hopefully the rumors are false. The sad thing is the entertainment district ends there so if people have open containers from that club and want to be on the street legally with them that will mean walking east on Adams where bars like OT, Manhattans and Poco Loco have invested a lot of money and work to improve the area. Hopefully the business owners and residents in the area will contest the liquor license being transferred if this is the case. I heard he had a lot of problems with his place on Alexis as far as things like drugs and crimes.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 03, 2018 at 11:39:27 am     #  

If this is the same owner, no matter what name that bar on alexis has had, there are nothing but problems. The worst being a murder on new year about 5 or 6 years ago. http://www.norwalkreflector.com/News/2013/09/11/Man-gets-15-to-life-for-murder-of-young-mom-in-bar-brawl

posted by TrilbyGuy on Jan 03, 2018 at 11:54:40 am     #  

Pulse nightclub opened around fall-winter 2014. It was in front of the Ice House on Alexis, next door to Original Gino's. A short while after opening, a woman was struck by a stray gunshot in the buttocks on the dance floor. There was another incident later in the parking lot. They remained open and installed metal detectors at the entrance along with a uniformed police officer. I went there once to check it out as I am a fan of djs and dance clubs. It was an urban/hip-hop club, black white ratio was 100-1. In 2015 it changed names to club Envy and closed a year later after they lost their liquor license.

From Blade story April 13, 2016:
"Pulse Ultra’s address turned up in 24 police reports in 2015 for assaults, drug abuse, drug possession, drug trafficking, disorderly conduct, public indecency, theft, firearms incidents, and aggravated assault. The establishment is now known as Envy night club."

posted by mixman on Jan 03, 2018 at 12:17:49 pm     #  

South Beach was down the street. That's still open as Encore nightclub I think.

posted by mixman on Jan 03, 2018 at 12:20:48 pm     #  

mixman posted at 12:20:48 PM on Jan 03, 2018:

South Beach was down the street. That's still open as Encore nightclub I think.

My bad. Both places are always trouble and I mixed them up.

posted by TrilbyGuy on Jan 03, 2018 at 01:04:18 pm     #  

"To be blunt, Bretz had been losing money for quite some time"

^

Really a key point that wasn't mentioned enough.

It has been mentioned here for many years. Eventually only the very well-heeled can keep a sinking ship afloat.

posted by 6th_Floor on Jan 03, 2018 at 05:29:00 pm     #  

There are a few things that I think are responsible for Bretz failing.

Most young LGBT feel welcome at any establishment. I haven't been there in years but was told the music was dated but they were trying to keep the young crowd. We have non-smoking laws and while I love them, it discourages smokers from going out. There are also tougher dui laws now (which I also favor but discourage people from going out even though there is now Uber and lyft(

I think it had a good business model when Greg Knot the original owner started the bar 30 years ago. The place was always packed on weekends.

But from what I understand the new owner wasn't good about running a bar. I heard she wasn't even a member of the LGBT community. Regardless she was only at the bar occasionally and when Greg owned it he was there all the time and knew he regular patrons. Georjgz down the street has an owner that is there a lot and interacts with his customers and knows what is going on uptown.

The final night was a good example. A few people on an LGBTQ facebook page I am on commented they were out for the art loop and the shopping event and someone else was at Poco Loco for dinner and they all wanted to go there for one last drink and the bar was closed and didn't open until 10. A good business owner would know that the area would have been packed that night. While all the other establishments on Adams were packed she was closed.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 03, 2018 at 08:35:57 pm     #  

There are a few things that I think are responsible for Bretz failing.

Most young LGBT feel welcome at any establishment. I haven't been there in years but was told the music was dated but they were trying to keep the young crowd. We have non-smoking laws and while I love them, it discourages smokers from going out. There are also tougher dui laws now (which I also favor but discourage people from going out even though there is now Uber and lyft(

I think it had a good business model when Greg Knot the original owner started the bar 30 years ago. The place was always packed on weekends.

But from what I understand the new owner wasn't good about running a bar. I heard she wasn't even a member of the LGBT community. Regardless she was only at the bar occasionally and when Greg owned it he was there all the time and knew he regular patrons. Georjgz down the street has an owner that is there a lot and interacts with his customers and knows what is going on uptown.

The final night was a good example. A few people on an LGBTQ facebook page I am on commented they were out for the art loop and the shopping event and someone else was at Poco Loco for dinner and they all wanted to go there for one last drink and the bar was closed and didn't open until 10. A good business owner would know that the area would have been packed that night. While all the other establishments on Adams were packed she was closed.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 03, 2018 at 08:35:58 pm     #  

There are a few things that I think are responsible for Bretz failing.

Most young LGBT feel welcome at any establishment. I haven't been there in years but was told the music was dated but they were trying to keep the young crowd. We have non-smoking laws and while I love them, it discourages smokers from going out. There are also tougher dui laws now (which I also favor but discourage people from going out even though there is now Uber and lyft(

I think it had a good business model when Greg Knot the original owner started the bar 30 years ago. The place was always packed on weekends.

But from what I understand the new owner wasn't good about running a bar. I heard she wasn't even a member of the LGBT community. Regardless she was only at the bar occasionally and when Greg owned it he was there all the time and knew he regular patrons. Georjgz down the street has an owner that is there a lot and interacts with his customers and knows what is going on uptown.

The final night was a good example. A few people on an LGBTQ facebook page I am on commented they were out for the art loop and the shopping event and someone else was at Poco Loco for dinner and they all wanted to go there for one last drink and the bar was closed and didn't open until 10. A good business owner would know that the area would have been packed that night. While all the other establishments on Adams were packed she was closed.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 03, 2018 at 08:35:59 pm     #  

Thu, Jan 4, 2018 - Toledo Blade - Police potentially looking into 'hate crime'

Excerpts:

Toledo police said they have identified a suspect potentially responsible for an assault outside Bretz nightclub that is now being investigated as a possible hate crime.

A police report dated Dec. 22 detailed Mr. Wilcox’s account of the attack but did not mention the homophobic slurs Mr. Wilcox said he was called. Under a section of the report titled “Hate Bias Type” the report said, “Not Reported.”

Mr. Wilcox said he is frustrated that homophobic epithets uttered at him were not mentioned in the police report. He admitted he was intoxicated and concussed after the assault, but was emphatic he told the responding officers and detective about the slurs.

Toledo police this week said officers know of the attacker’s supposed use of slurs — even if the original report did not reflect that knowledge. They’re now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Officers have a suspect and the detective on the case is working on bringing that person in for questioning, said Sgt. Kevan Toney, the Toledo Police Department’s spokesman.

Under Toledo municipal law, an incident is characterized as a hate crime if it was motivated by race, religion, color, sex, handicap, age, or a “person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity.”

Toledo’s ordinance only applies to misdemeanors, said Jeffrey Lingo, criminal division chief of Lucas County prosecutor’s office.

posted by jr on Jan 04, 2018 at 01:09:39 pm     #  

Hopefully the guy will get charged with a hate crime and not get off with a hand slap.

posted by jamesteroh on Jan 04, 2018 at 03:14:25 pm     #