Miami Beach's Palace Bar went out with fireworks and a literal bang after hosting a week's worth of parties that culminated in a street bash along Ocean Drive on the Fourth of July.
The bar, long considered the epicenter of Miami Beach's LGBT community and South Beach's most vibrant entertainment spot, was forced to close after Palace owner Tom Donall couldn't come to lease terms with the new owners. The building is also set to undergo renovations that could take up to two years to complete.
There is good news, however. Donall is searching for a new spot for the iconic bar, and despite rumors that the Palace might move to mainland Miami or even Fort Lauderdale, he would very much like to stay right on Ocean Drive. "I want to move Palace to a new location," Donall says, "a bigger location that has a hotel and make it an LGBT center."
He's willing to wait for the perfect spot. "The community is very solid," he says. "If I go off the Drive for a little while, I'm definitely coming back to Ocean Drive as soon as I get a great space for us. My goal is to move only once."
As Palace drag performer Missy Meyakie LePaige strutted on the street outside the Palace one last time, she tried to keep her mascara from running when thinking about the guests she refers to as family rather than fans. "It was an awesome thing to be around nothing but love," she said. "I'm grateful for this place. I'm grateful for the people that come and patronize this place."
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