DC-Area Gay Bars Eye Security After Orlando Attack

As the world reels from the Orlando attack, gay bars in and around the nation's capital are reevaluating how to keep patrons safe.

The owner of JR's Bar & Grill, one of the oldest gay bars in the District, said he was devastated by the massacre that killed 49 clubgoers.

"It's unfathomable to think that you're that vulnerable to somebody who just hates everything about you," JR's owner Jimmy Taglauer said.

In Arlington, Virginia, the owner of Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant hung black bunting in honor of the shooting victims.

"This has always been on my mind," Freddie Lutz said.

He said the bar took steps to boost safety.

"We have already started upping security," Lutz said. "No backpacks. If we don't know somebody and they have a purse, we're probably going to look through their purse."

A number of owners of gay bars said they have security plans but prefer to keep them secret.

D.C. police meet once per quarter with bar and club owners to discuss security protocols, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. Officers on nightlife squads patrol areas full of bars.

"They are specially trained just to deal with that environment and everything that could go along with that environment," Lanier said.

Taglauer said if bars have to install metal detectors to help keep patrons safe, so be it.

"Let's hope that we never have to get to that point, but if that's the small sort of inconvenience that I have to do, put me through seven of 'em," he said.

Contact Us