Detroit’s Historic LGBTQ Spot Destroyed in Fire

A fire lieutenant observing a drill flame. Photo courtesy of Jay Heike from Unsplash.

The oldest LGBTQ, The Woodward Bar & Grill, bar in Detroit was ablaze.

A woman from the nearby New Life Orthopedics and Prosthetics said she smelled smoke at noon on Tuesday, June 14th 2022, The Freep reports. She immediately called authorities who arrived on-scene; however the flame still burned for hours resulting in the restaurant’s total loss.

The cause of the flame is still unknown, and authorities are investigating. However, no one was inside the property at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported.

The bar was a popular spot for the LGBTQ community and its allies. It was a historic queer spot in Detroit and had been in operation since 1954. The Woodward was noted for its contributions to the LGBTQ community in the city, and it is considered a safe space for queer people, particularly those of color.

According to the Eater, the history of the LGBT community in metro Detroit spans decades, but it took on new shape after World War II when gay clubs began opening downtown.


Like many Detroiters’ migration patterns did at that time period — the scene spread north along Woodward Avenue into neighborhoods like Palmer Park and suburban Ferndale/Royal Oak with its legacy still seen today in stalwart bars such as the Woodward Bar & Grill.

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