The intersection of 12th and Ocean has been the cornerstone of the LGBT community for almost thirty years, but that is about to change.
Queens at The Palace Bar have been stunning tourists, stopping traffic and serving locals for quite some time. But those doors are closing for good.
“It’s so sad because we are a family here, we are a team, and all of us make this place what it is today,” said T.P. Lords, one of the performers.
The world-renowned drag performances feature signature names like T.P. Lords, Missey Meyakie LePaige and Shanaya Bright. But the South Beach show-stopping staple is a safe haven for the LGBTQ community.
“This place is like an intimate family home where people are going through things, people are battling issues and they come to The Palace, they look at our shows and we encourage them to keep going,” said Missy Meyakie LePaige, another one of the performers at the iconic bar.
Last month, the owner of the ocean front bar announced on Facebook that The Palace is being forced to relocate from the iconic corner. The building was sold and renovations are set to begin in July.
“When I see people smiling and having a good time and the energy we have here, for me, that’s what it’s all about,” said Thomas Donall, the owner of The Palace.
The drag bar has created countless memories with birthdays, anniversaries and even bachelorette parties.
“I love Palace, it was so much fun,” said Stephanie Gonzales, a woman celebrating her bachelorette party at the bar, “It brought back memories when I was hanging out with my friends.”
“It’s a shock. It’s an institution,” said Dave Cook, a South Beach resident, “Everyone from around the world knows about The Palace Bar.”
Performers say they are sentimental as The Palace nears its final number. “We feel accepted, we feel appreciated,” said T.P. Lords, a performer. “We get to meet all different people from different walks of life.”
“It’s more than a job,” said LePaige, “It’s a passion. It’s dedication. It’s life, it’s life. This is our food, our clothes on our back.”
The Palace isn’t closing for good. The owner is actively looking for a place to relocate. But the doors on the iconic Ocean Drive location will close its doors on July 4th.