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‘Basix is staying here’: Beloved Cedar Rapids LGBTQ bar gets a new owner


Belle’s Basix, 3916 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, Jan. 10, 2021. — Malcolm MacDougall/Little Village

Two weeks ago, when Andy Harrison announced his plans to close the iconic Belle’s Basix on Feb. 1, he said there was still a chance to save Cedar Rapids’ only LGBTQ night spot.

“If someone decides to buy the business then it will carry on as they [see] fit,” Harrison, who has owned the club for the last decade, wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 9. “I am in talks with some people and would like to be in talks with more about buying this 25 year old business. It’ll be going for cheap i can tell ya that.”

Even though he had prospects, Harrison was pessimistic about whether Basix would survive.

On Monday, Harrison took to Facebook again, but with a very different message: “Basix is staying here!!!”

“I was wrong” about how interested people were in keeping Basix open, he wrote.

“The amount of inquiries about the possible sale of the business shocked me. So many people racking their brains to find ways to come up with the money to take over. The amount of offers we got was astounding, I want to thank everybody for their offers that were put in.”

Harrison has reached a deal with Corridor Entertainment Group, which owns Iowa City’s iconic LGBTQ bar Studio 13, as well as Joystick Comedy Bar & Arcade, Eden, Players and Sanctuary.

“I’ve known Andy for 20 years and they’re an amazing person who has done so much for the community,” Corridor CEO Jason Zeman told Little Village in an email. “The past two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone in the bar and restaurant business and solo operators were hit the hardest. We’re happy that we can carry on the hard work Andy has put into Basix in the past 10 years and hope to nurture and grow it into the future. With the continued support of the LGBTQIA++ community I am confident Basix will survive and thrive far into the future.”

Corridor will take over Basix on Feb. 1, and plans to reopen it to the public on Friday Feb. 25, after some remodeling.

“They made me an offer i couldn’t refuse, and have big plans to keep this LGBTQA safe spot going, pump new life into it, and take it well into the future,” Harrison wrote on Monday. “Their plans are amazing and I’m excited for the bar and the community.”

Harrison said he was especially pleased that the new owners will be keeping the Basix name.

Belle’s Basix, 3916 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, Jan. 10, 2021. — Malcolm MacDougall/Little Village

According to Harrison, one of the reasons he’d been planning to close the bar was declining public interest and support, even before COVID-19 compounded all the problems bar and restaurant were facing. He is adamant about that not happening when Basix reopens under new management.

“I implore the Cedar Rapids Community to SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT the bar in the future,” Harrison wrote. “What you put into the Community Safe Spot, you get out of it tenfold. Please keep this institution and beacon of the Community open for many years to come.”

Harrison closed his Facebook post by reminding people this will be his final weekend as owner of Basix, “so please come in and say goodbye to us.”

“But keep smiling cause great things are gonna happen here at BASIX… you’ll see!!!”

More information can be found on the updated Basix website, basixcr.com.


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