Starlite Lounge Now A Cell Phone Store

Sad day in Crown Heights. The neighborhood’s historic Starlite Lounge at 1086 Bergen Street has been replaced by a Metro PCS. We had heard this awhile ago as a rumor from Nostrand Park while the building was under construction. But now it’s confirmed: one of Brooklyn’s oldest gay bars and its first black-owned gay bar is just another soulless storefront devoid of its past life.
The Starlite Lounge Says Goodbye [Brownstoner]

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  • that’s sad, but for what it’s worth, gay bars are pretty soulless too..


  • I’m sure the workers who transformed it to retail are happy for the cash they received.

  • The cellphone store is the bodega of the 21st century, but with far less character and far less to offer.

  • You know what’s really soulless? Trite writing about the everyday changes in a living city.

  • metroPCS is not a “cellphone” anyway.

    Someone should go in there and tell those employees what that space used to be. I like to do that to the bartenders at the Mean Fiddler, the Irish bar that now occupies the spot where Stella’s used to be. Stellas was the last of the great skanky hustler bars on W 47th street

  • On the plus side, it actually brightens up that corner.

  • What’s really soulless? not caring about community instiutions that actually served a real purpose. Like the Starlite did.

  • Benson: The “everyday changes in a living city” are what make living here interesting. Would you rather everyone just ignore what’s going on in their neighborhoods and write about the Kardashians?

  • Maybe they can all hang out at the cell phone store.

  • There’s a gay bar in bangkok, on Soi 4, called Telephone. There are old fashion telepnones in front of every barstoool and you can phone anyone else in the bar.

  • “not caring about community instiutions”


    Help me here. I thought it was a business that closed up. If it were just an old dive bar filled with old, white guys wearing stained American Legion caps, would it be a business, or a community institution? If it were just a gay bar, would it be a community institution? How about black-owned? Or is it the daily-double of black and gay that vaults it to community institution status?

  • Or is it the daily-double of black and gay that vaults it to community institution status?


  • “Someone should go in there and tell those employees what that space used to be.”

    Oh yeah. That will undoubtedly intrigue them to no end.

  • if there’s now a big underserved gay bar demand set, a great spot to open a gay bar is that spot on corner of kingston and bergen

  • Actually, Benson, if it was an old dive bar filled with guys with American Legion hats, that had been there since the 1950’s, unchanged, that would have done it for me, white, black, gay or purple. The point is that it was a neighborhood institution. Of course the owner had every right to invoke his rights to have new tenants, especially since the Starlight was derelict in paying rent. And I’m sure Metro PCS is paying primo rent. But we can comment on and mourn the loss of an institution that did have historical and cultural precident. Soullessness is in thinking none of it matters, and its only commerce, because it really does. A neighborhood is made up of more than buildings.

  • benson- it was black-owned. It was not a business that was closed up. It was still in operation when they were kicked out. it was the oldest gay bar in Brooklyn and a comfortable palce for them to go. If it were an Italian bar that had been around for years wouldn’t you care? Has nothing to do with being Black and gay (although I find it interesting you would put it in those terms. And I would feel the same way if it were an old white guys dive or a VFW or whatever because I don’t like seeing viable, old community businesses shut down for no good reason. Capice?

  • I am bummed that an old bar closed. I hope the bar fixtures found a good home. I could care less what kind of bar it was, (okay, that’s a lie, I liked the idea of a gay bar in Crown Heights, and wish I’d had a chance to go there — despite being old and straight) — but the biggest thing I find sort of ironic and/or sad is, all across gentrified and up-and-coming Brooklyn, spaces are being renovated to look like they’ve been there since 1950 — or 1850 — and here is an actual one… and… well, le sigh.

    Was it nice inside? Nice in the way old dive bars used to be? A few red lights, maybe some wood paneling from the 70’s, a nicotine-stained tin ceiling, an old mahogany bar with initials in it? Vinyl booths held together with duct tape? Good jukebox?

  • Well said MM (as always), this one is dedicated to you.

    The great Living Colour

  • Oh Benson, there’s a sunny, dull, and isolated gated community in South Florida calling your name.

    Of course, any longstanding bar or businesses or what have you is a loss to the community. If the Stonewall Inn was evicted abruptly, you could be sure the entire national LGBT community would be up in arms.

    Sadly, it’s the little guy who takes the brunt of the city’s gentrification pangs.

  • Truly a sad day (though this happened many days ago). I heard so much about the Starlite from friends just as I was moving to CH (living three blocks away) and now it’s gone.

  • Hey Montrose Morris, how do you know they were derelict on their rent, PS? I’ve heard different accounts of why the place closed (i.e. landlord died, his son took over and was sort of a homophobe) — and I’d love to know what actually happened.

  • Interesting that the Living Colour video to which Grand Pa sent the link opens with shots of several houses along President St, just across from today’s HOTD.

  • sad… gentrification

  • Not only is it sad, it is a waste of a perfectly good liquor license.