They say that all things must come to an end.On Wednesday, All Axs, in Willoughby, announced that they would be closing their doors to the public. This comes at just over a year from their opening and since I wrote my first review of them. They became a cornerstone to the LGBTQ east side community very quickly. More so to me, it became a home. Their existence sparked a lot of conversation and opinions in DTW. This truly is an end of an era.
For me, January 26, 2019 started it all. It came as a post by, who would quickly become a friend, Bill Hartman, about a bar that was going to have a LGBTQ night in Willoughby. I was immensely excited to find a place where I could go, close to my house, and be with like minded people. I was unsure how I felt about a “gay night.” I have seen bars do that in the past and they fail. The community barely supports anyone that wants to host us for only one night. It seems they are more interested in the money than actually being a support to the community. The night was slated to take place on February 2nd and I was determined that I would be in attendance.
That night, I took a friend with me to check it out and I have to say that I was a bit shocked to see what looked like a very straight establishment hosting a gay night. By the time I had gotten to the bar they had already finished with the night. I hesitantly talked to a bartender to ask how it went and they said it wasnt well attended, they didn’t like it, and didn’t think any of the locals would either. That all changed rather quickly. My friend, his boyfriend, and I gave the owner suggestions about what to include. We also gave our opinion about it being a one night a week and how it wouldn’t work. Shortly thereafter they hosted a weekend full of drag shows that were packed shoulder to shoulder.
As the place grew in popularity and more events would happen, it showed that it was becoming a place for people to go without judgement. In the next month I would meet someone who would later become my boyfriend and I have to say I owe it all to All Axs, the crappy DJ at the time, and an attempt to host a RuPaul Drag Racer viewing party. I wrote several reviews about All Axs and drag shows they held. I met many great people at this bar and it holds a special place in my heart. It brought out the LGBTQ community for the east side and allowed us to be visible and accepted.
Billy Walker provided a great place for us and we owe him for taking on the burden that having the only LGBTQ bar in DTW brought with it. His manager, Dennis Baker, worked hard to bring in talent for various events. Awesome drag queens from the area and Ohio at large, comedians, live music, trivia, and karaoke all contributed to making Axs a divers place for all to enjoy. The staff of All Axs worked to make sure we all had drinks in our hands and great experiences. All Axs will be missed and Willoughby will not be the same without it. The last day for All Axs will be this Saturday, February 1st. They will host two last drag shows to send us out in style. Friday will be the Thanks for the Memories Show, hosted by none other than All Axs’ own Madison Phillips. It will include Kari Nickles, Carly Uninemclite, Kardi Redd Diamond, Jade and Silver Uzumaki, MIss Willow Tree, Melancholy Baby, Kat Piss, and Aiden O’Mann.Showtime at 10:30pm (drag queen time) with music by Danogee. Saturday’s show will be presented by CKG (Cleveland Kings and Girls) and is title Four Letter Words. Show time 10:30pm and music by Danogee. Make sure you get out to see these last shows and the last of All Axs.
This is not the end, however. As one door closes, another opens. As All Axs passes to memory, Valhalla will soon open. What is Valhalla you ask? Valhalla will be the evolution of All Axs. In the shopping center behind Giant Eagle near the meeting of Lakeshore Blvd and Andrews Rd, you will find the location of where Valhalla will soon be. Dennis says that it currently can hold almost 600 people and has its own stage and sound system. They also have a kitchen, which will be run by Madison Phillips and All Axs’ very own Elliot. The new larger place will provide more room for shows and the ability to host music groups as well.
The grand opening for Valhalla will be February 20th and the staff all hope you come out and enjoy the new bar. Tickets will be on sale for the grand opening for $15 and will include entrance to see Saving Able. More information will come as they get closer to opening. For now, we love and will miss you All Axs. Thank you for the memories you provided, the hilarious highlight reels from security camera, and a VIP room that witnessed so much that should never be talked about above a whisper. So long and thanks for the fish. You will be missed.