The proprietor of the Tin Room and the Drama Room says he’s signed a lease on the building that housed Bill’s Hideaway and hopes to reopen the legendary gay piano bar by the end of March.
The Hideaway, on Buena Vista Street near Fitzhugh Avenue, has been sitting vacant since mid-2009, when it shut down after 26 years.
Lonzie Hershner, who took over management of the Tin Room and the Drama Room after his brother Marty died last year, said he signed a lease on the Hideaway building last month.
Lonzie Hershner said he plans to call the new bar Marty’s Hideaway as a tribute to his brother. Crews have already gutted the building and begun landscaping the trademark patio, he said.
“We’re going to start actual construction on it in two weeks,” Hershner said. “We’re fixin’ to completely restore it. It’s taken forever and a day, but we finally got the lease signed on it. … I want to get it back to what it used to be, because everybody loved it.”
Hershner said the front portion of the Hideaway will be restored to its original theme of a piano bar. Meanwhile, the back bar will have more of Tin Room-style party atmosphere and feature live dancers.
“I’m going to try to bring in the best of both worlds,” Hershner said, adding that on weekends, the Hideaway patio will be open to Katy Trail users and their pets, offering snacks, smoothies and water.
Hershner noted that the Tin Room celebrated its 10th anniversary this past Friday. He called it an “amazing weekend” but said it was also somewhat somber because of his brother’s death.
“It was very difficult because he loved that place with a passion,” Hershner said. “It’s been almost nine months now and it still feels like yesterday. I got on the microphone and gave congratulations to Marty and thanked everybody that was in there for continuing to stay with the Tin Room.”
Hershner also said he hopes to bring live dancers back to the Drama Room soon. He said he pulled the dancers shortly before Christmas after being ticketed by the city for operating without a dance hall permit.
“I’m hoping if all goes well, this time next month we’ll have our license,” Hershner said. “As soon as that license comes back, I will have dancers in there.”