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Steve Potter Reflects On The Closing Of St. Louis’ Oldest Gay Bar

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Clementine’s, in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood, opened in 1978. It is the oldest gay bar in the area.

On Monday, the owners will pour their last drink, and Clementine’s will shut its doors.

The Vital Voice documented how people are reacting to the news.

We have one reflection to add.

Steve Potter joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2001. He can be heard weekday afternoons and he’s been the host of our arts and culture program, “Cityscape,” since 2005.

Here are his thoughts. And while no secret, he's never before shared them publicly.

Transcript: Finally, I'd like to mention the closing of a long time meeting place in Soulard.

It's the bar, Clementine’s. And, it’s acknowledged as the oldest gay bar currently in operation in St. Louis.

Clementine’s has served the LGBT community since 1978 but it will no longer exist after this weekend.

It's been a popular destination.  It thrived at a time before the internet and social media, during a time when people needed a brick and mortar establishment to meet and interact.

On Sunday, the St. Louis LGBT History Project will be there to collect memorabilia and to hear the stories of longtime customers.

Times and attitudes have changed greatly since Clementine’s opened more than 35 years ago, and most would agree that's a good thing.

I first stepped thru the door there in 1980, when I was 25 years old. It was a time when I was trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into this world. It helped a lot.

It's no secret, but I've never spoken publicly about this, but hey, it's 2014.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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