imageBellissima, a smoke-free Midtown mainstay of lesbian nightlife for more than three years, is up for sale as its owner seeks a respite from the grind of operating at bar hours and the gyrations of a troubled economy.

Anna Ragghianti (photo) says that after three years of nightlife fun – from hosting Bedlam to comedy shows, drag shows, gay business mixers and her usual mix of lesbians seeking cocktails and dance – she’s ready to move on, travel and work on film projects she’s otherwise had to take a pass on.

“It is a great location and I think the community needs something like Bellissima,” Ragghianti says. “Whoever bought it could open it pretty quickly and not dump a lot of money or time into it. My heart wants to keep it in the gay community.”

The bar, which opened in spring 2008, has been up for sale “for some time,” Ragghianti says, but she recently reduced the price to $79,000. She doesn’t own the property on which the bar sits in Amsterdam Walk, so the price tag comes with an additional $4,000 monthly rent payment.

An ad with real estate broker Shumacher Group describes the bar like this:

This club is near Piedmont Park and Virginia Highland and offers a lounge atmosphere serving Italian-inspired small plates, full bar and an extensive wine menu.  2500/sf with a legal capacity of 103 with tons of parking. Rent is $4,000 per month. Rental rate includes all extras, CAM, water and landlord provided complimentary valet parking. Opened since May 2008 with same owner at a cost of almost $200,000. Owner completely gutted space and removed old floors and added polished cement floors, pool table, re-upholstered banquettes (booths) from Floataway Cafe, raised DJ booth, leather couches, ottoman, chairs,  bar stools and custom built bar & liquor cabinets, stage, stunning 15-seat bar with incredible lighting and sound system plus a small kitchen to pump out panini s, pizza and Italian small plates. Over 30/ft exposed ceilings add incredible depth to space. Keep as is or convert to any club, lounge, bar or restaurant. Sale includes all assets of business including furniture, fixtures, equipment, small wares, POS system, ice machine, coolers, sound system, DJ equipment, video projector, TV’s, etc.
Sacrifice sale at at $79,000 which is a fraction of start-up costs.

Ragghianti says her staff and friends don’t want to see the bar go, but understand her desire to move on.

“When I first opened the bar, I never planned on being in the bar business for a lifetime. I’ve been presented several opportunities to do bigger and better things and haven’t been able to do them,” she says.

Ragghianti says that she hopes the bar remains an LGBT one, but that the Midtown location could attract attention from a non-gay owner with other ideas. The ad has drawn some interest, but nothing firm yet.

“It has the potential to be a lot of different things even if it’s not gay,” she says.

Bellissima joins a changing landscape for some LGBT-owned businesses. On Nov. 14, Philip Rafshoon announced that his Outwrite Bookstore will soon move from its iconic Midtown location as the store struggles to stay afloat.

Photo by Knyckolas Creative