The Fox, Johnson County’s only gay bar, closing April 21

  • The Fox bar in Overland Park turns off the neon later this month.

The Fox, one of the oldest gay bars in the Kansas City metro (and the only one in Johnson County), at 7520 Shawnee Mission Parkway, will unplug the pinball machine, cover up the pool tables, and lock the doors for the last time on Sunday, April 21.

The 30-year-old saloon – located in an unassuming Overland Park shopping strip – has been owned for the last six years by Tim Abbott and his partner, Bernardo: “Just refer to me in your story as Bernardo,” he says. “That’s how everyone knows me.” (It’s his last name, by the way.)

“”Why are we closing? It’s a personal matter. Our lease was up on May 1, and even though we’ve put a lot of money and committment into this place, we’re done. We’re trying to sell it, but we can’t keep going on the way we have. We’re going to walk away while we can.”

The Fox opened in 1978 as the Bullpen. Butch Gregory, the son of that operation’s owner, turned it into the gay-friendly the Fox five years later. The bar’s “mascot,” a stuffed fox, was given to Gregory by the owner of an older gay bar called the Dover Fox, at 44th Street and Main, in Kansas City; the Dover Fox closed in the 1980s.

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