You are reading

Owner of ‘Queens’ Oldest Gay Bar’ Purchases Jackson Heights Building That Houses Bar

Friend’s Tavern owner Eddie Valentine celebrates the purchase of the building with Queens officials and representatives of TD Bank (Courtesy of Anat)

Nov. 24, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The owner of “Queens’ oldest gay bar” has purchased the Jackson Heights building that the bar is housed in.

Eddie Valentine, who owns Friend’s Tavern, recently acquired the building — located at 78-11 Roosevelt Ave. — effectively ensuring the 32-year-old bar’s future for years to come.

Vallentine said he hopes that Friend’s Tavern will continue to serve the LGBTQ+ community for another 30-plus years.

“For three decades our space has been a refuge for our LGBTQ community, not only from the U.S., but from so many countries around the world,” he said. “We look forward to the next thirty years of creating friendships, and giving our love back to our wonderful community!”

Valentine was able to buy the building, for an undisclosed amount, after securing a mortgage from TD Bank. He was helped along the way by Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, who connected him with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, who then introduced Valentine to TD Bank representatives.

The building also houses a beauty salon.

Friends Tavern, located at 78-11 Roosevelt Ave. (Google Maps)

Valentine, Cruz, TD Bank representatives and other local officials celebrated the purchase with a rainbow ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

“I am thrilled to be celebrating our permanent acquisition of Friend’s Tavern, after over 32 years of business here in Jackson Heights, Queens, which is the melting pot of the world,” Valentine said. “It has been our privilege to serve this neighborhood as well as so many customers from the rest of the city who seek a second home, and a safe space where we serve smiles and hugs with every libation.”

Cruz said she was honored to have helped Friends Tavern secure its permanence in Jackson Heights.

“For 32 years, Friend’s Tavern, the oldest gay bar in Queens, has served as a cultural mecca, a home and haven to those without, and a beacon of hope and love for the LGBTQI community,” she said. “I am honored and thrilled to have been a part of the purchase of the building by Friends Tavern owner, Eddie Valentin, and his team, so that we can give this cultural institution a permanent home.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech, Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, Council Member-elect Shekar Krishnan and Council Member-elect Lynn Schulman also attended the ribbon-cutting celebration.

Grech said he is delighted that Friend’s Tavern was able to secure its future in Jackson Heights and that the Chamber was able to be a part of it.

“Iconic establishments like Friend’s Tavern make Queens special — they add to the unique character of our neighborhoods and create jobs and opportunities for all,” Grech said.

Schulman, who is one of Queens’ incoming queer council members, called the building purchase wonderful news.

“Friend’s Tavern is a historic cornerstone of the LGBTQ community in Queens,” she said. “For decades, when our community had few choices for socializing in public, Friend’s Tavern was always a welcoming safe space.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

3 men sought for armed robbery in East Elmhurst home invasion near LaGuardia Airport: NYPD

The NYPD is looking for three men who allegedly robbed an East Elmhurst man of tens of thousands of dollars during a home invasion early Monday morning.

Police from the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights responded to a 911 call of an armed robbery at a townhouse located at 108-09 Ditmars Blvd. near 29th Avenue just south of LaGuardia Airport.
The victim had pulled up in front of his home just before 2 a.m. when he was approached by three suspects. One of them pulled out a firearm and forced him inside the townhouse where they stole around $30,000 in cash and a safe that contained an unspecified amount of jewelry, before exiting and driving off in a silver four-door SUV, police said.