WATERLOO — The current owner of the Cedar Valley’s only gay bar is looking for someone else to take over.
Kings and Queens Club, located at 304 W. Fourth St., celebrated New Year’s Eve and has been closed since.
In a more than 12-minute long video posted on Facebook shortly after the new year started, owner John Hayes announced the club is up for sale.
Hayes bought the club in 2011 and sold it during the pandemic. He said in an interview that he redeemed Kings and Queens from the former owner in November and kept it open for a few months. Currently, he does not have the resources to continue operating.
“It’s been a challenge to reopen to get back to good working order,” he said. “There was lots of clean up, money, inventory, supplies and employees not paid. That’s the type of situation I was in.”
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Hayes said a lot of employees have still not been paid for time worked under the previous owner.
The club will not be listed for sale publicly, but rather be for sale through Hayes. He said he wants to make sure the building goes to someone who will keep it a safe space for the LGBTQ-plus community.
He said that if the building is not under contract by April or May, he will probably open it up himself.
“One way or another, it will reopen,” he said. “Hell or high water.”
Hayes noted there is “good, local interest” in the bar. Since posting the Facebook video, it’s gotten almost 20,000 views with almost 300 shares and 200 comments.
“The responses I got, it’s just overwhelming that many people are concerned about it being closed temporarily,” he said.
Kings and Queens also supports events such as Cedar Valley Pridefest and the Cedar AIDS Assistance Program.
“It’s more than just a bar,” Hayes said. “It’s a community hot spot.”