Alabama’s Only Lesbian Bar Herz Is Closing After 4 Years

One less lesbian bar.

Herz, the only lesbian bar in Alabama and one of two in the Panhandle, has closed their doors after 4 years in business.

You may recognize Herz from their spotlight feature in The Lesbian Bar Project. Their charmingly divey atmosphere made lesbians and allies alike feel like they were home. Wives Rachel and Shiela Smallman opened Herz in Mobile, AL in October 2019. “Even though we have such a vast community here in Mobile, they’ve never had a meeting place where they felt comfortable, because you can go to the average gay bar, and it’s kind of male-driven,” said Rachel Smallman in a 2021 interview. “With (the LGBTQ+ community) being so vast with different types of people, having this spot here where you can come and just be yourself, whoever yourself is, this has been a real step up for them.”

The Smallmans announced the bar’s closing on their Facebook page and thanked everyone who was a part of the Herz family. “Sheila and I would like to thank you all for the years of love, support, and the many memories that we made,” Rachel wrote. “To that end, we have found a buyer for our building and have decided to sell. Herz is officially closed. We wish you all the love and blessings due to each of you! We look forward to seeing you in the future!!”

The comment section was flooded with sadness and gratitude. One poster wrote, “Thank you both so much for creating a space where I could be authentically me. That means so very much to me and to everyone who walked through your doors! Herz was so much more than a bar… it was my safe space, my home, my happy place!”

The closing of Herz reaches much farther than Mobile or even Alabama. Kimberly McKeand, a frequent patron of Herz, said “It’s a really big loss for the Mobile community and the Gulf Coast. I mean, people from Florida and Mississippi were coming to Herz,” McKeand said. “We were all devastated by its closing, I mean, many of us cried over it because it was just a safe place for us, a very comfortable place.”

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