Clermont Lounge closing temporarily for renovations
2 Months off for the Clermont
Looks like Manuel's Tavern isn't the only neighborhood cultural institution closing soon for upgrades. According to the Clermont Lounge's longtime Saturday night funk DJ Romeo Cologne, the famed dive bar and oldest strip club in Atlanta will be closing for two months this summer while the Clermont Hotel in which it's housed undergoes structural upgrades.
The building, which dates back to 1924 and was sold to its current owner in 2013, is being renovated into a 98-room boutique hotel. When CL's Max Blau profiled Michael Gamble — principal of G+G Architects, the firm behind the Clermont Hotel redesign — for the 2014 issue of People to Watch, Gamble made it clear that the lounge would remain intact. "It's a unique space for the city," Gamble told Blau. "There were very few people who thought the Clermont Lounge should be closed. The neighbors really wanted to preserve it. We wanted to preserve it."
It's not the fear of change that has Cologne worried, but the ability of loyal entertainers to survive even a short-term closure with no other stable source of income — especially since they're ineligible for unemployment as independent contractors. It's yet another reminder of the challenging working conditions most exotic dancers in Atlanta face. In a Facebook post, Cologne has asked for people who frequent the club to show their support with generous tips for performers in the month leading up to the scheduled closing this June:
Dear Friends of The Clermont Lounge, I am writing this to let everyone who loves this club know that all of it's loyal employees will be suffering for 2 months beginning in June, as the club will close while the building undergoes structural repairs. The owners of the building intend to allow the Clermont to reopen some time in late July. But for the many loyal employees, we will be suffering during that period with zero income. I may survive myself, but I worry about the families who depend on the club and already live on the poverty level. Some will find other work, most will not. The performers and DJ are independent contractors that cannot receive unemployment benefits or food stamps. There is no safety net for us, and I know of a few workers who have extensive medical needs and will be at risk by being unable to afford their medication. I don't have a solution to this unfortunate situation. I know that the owner Kathy Martin has done everything possible to make this period as short as possible and her loyalty to all of us has been without question.
All I ask, is that in the upcoming month before the closure, please show your support by frequenting the club and tip the performers generously if you want to make sure they can survive this difficult period. Thank you all for your kind support of our unique and historic club! Please Share!
It's unclear at this time whether the look of the Lounge will change or if the repairs are just for the hotel and bones of the building. We've contacted Michael Gamble of G+G Architects for clarification and any further information they can provide regarding the hotel renovation timetable. The post will be updated if we get a response.
UPDATE 5:24 p.m.: The Clermont Lounge's Twitter account responded to Creative Loafing to say the design of the lounge will not be affected by the structural repairs, and closure dates will be announced soon.