Lonzie Hershner, owner of The Tin Room, Marty’s Live and Chesterfields, has announced that as of today (Thursday, March 31), he has purchased Zippers, the Fitzhugh Avenue mainstay, from Richard Curtin.
“I have always wanted to be on that side of town, so when the opportunity presented itself, I took it,” Hershner said today.
Hershner said he signed the paper work this afternoon to officially take over as owner of Zippers. He purchased the bar from Richard “Edna Jean” Curtin, who took over management and full ownership last year after having been part owner for some time.
Hershner said Thursday he will be making “a few changes” to the bar, including increasing the size of the front bar and changing the colors on the exterior. But Zippers fans don’t need to be alarmed.
“Richard did a great job of remodeling the bar when he took over last year. We just want to take it back to where it used to be. We’re going to get in there and just have some fun,” Hershner said.
“Zippers has been there on Fitzhugh Avenue forever,” Hershner said. “It is an icon in the gay community. We want to keep it that way.”
Hershner had tried to re-open another Fitzhugh-area legend, The Hideaway, in 2013, but that plan fell through in 2013 after neighbors in the area challenged Hershner’s application to TABC for a liquor license.
The neighbors — primarily residents of newer townhomes and condos next to and across from the piano bar — would increase noise, traffic, trash and crime in their area. Then known as Bill’s Hideaway, the bar had closed in 2010 due to financial problems. Lonzie Hershner had wanted to re-open it as Marty’s Hideaway, naming it in honor of his late brother, who was gay.
Lonzie, Marty and their mother, Paulette, owned The Tin Room and Drama Room — a Cedar Springs bar that has since closed — and a mostly-straight bar and grill on Maple called Chesterfields, with Marty, who was gay, having the primary responsibility for running the gay bars. When Marty died, Lonzie stepped up to take over. He recently became the Dallas Tavern Guild’s first non-gay president.