A fire erupted inside the popular gay Houston bar the Eagle on Saturday, sending patrons and employees scrambling for safety and heavily damaging the popular Montrose bar.
Fire broke out about 2 p.m. on Saturday as smoke and fire damaged the second and third floors of the building at 611 Hyde Park. Water damaged the first floor as scores of firefighters fought the blaze for several hours.
“There was a flicker of lights and then all of a sudden I smelled the smoke, turned around to my friend, said 'It smells likes something's burning,'” said customer John Trujillo. “That's when the manager ran out and before you know it, the rest of us took off and we noticed all the smoke coming out of the roof.”
No one was injured, but there is serious smoke and flame damage to the second and third floors. The main business is on the first floor and that just has water damage.
The Eagle moved to the building – once home to gay bar 611 – in 2014. And the bar will be back, according to property owner Jay Allen. Via KHOU:
The owner, Jay Allen, is already planning to rebuild.
“We will be back, yes we will be back,” said Allen.
The property recently underwent about $500,000 in renovations, which included the installation of a sprinkler system into the 1930s-era bungalow that was just weeks away from activation.
“Everything in the sprinkler system is ready to role. We are waiting for the city water tap line and we filed all the paperwork on that two weeks ago,” building owner Jay Allen told KTRK.
Eagle owners Caryn Craig and Mark DeLang arrived to find firefighters trying to save their business, according to About Magazine.
Bar owner Caryn Craig arrived on scene visually upset. Husband and co/owner Mark De Lang arrived a short time later. Both owners seemed in shock and were not talking to the media.
The bar quickly shifted gears after the fire, re-opening on Sunday in a new location downtown – which just happens to be the Eagle's original home.
We'll be relocating to our very first location and will be open only on Sunday's until the damage from the fire can be repaired. We're back in the dungeon every Sunday! 6p-2a. Dangerous Disco with JD Arnold! No cover, 18+, 709 Franklin, downtown in the dungeon.
Investigators with the Houston Fire Department are investigating the blaze. We've reached out to a fire department spokesperson about the incident and will update the post if we receive a response.
And a little Eagle history, via Swamp Lot:
While often mistaken for a franchise outpost, The Eagle is independent of (and somewhat less leather-oriented than) the dozen or so leather-fetish-and-or-sports bars bearing that same name from coast to coast and (formerly) into Chicago. Since 2014, Houston’s Eagle had been nesting in the 30-year home of the 611 Club, a taxidermy-packed gay bar that opened over the objections of the Avondale Association Home Owner’s Association in 1984. The 611 Club was celebrated in the long-defunct Montrose Voice as a key point in Montrose’s “Golden Triangle for bar lovers, a nice walk from the Mining Company, JR’s, the Barn, Ripcord, Lola’s, Charlotte’s, and Al’s.”
Photos by Rob Martinez