Ten years ago, who would have thought there would be a gay bar in Tullahoma? Two months ago, for that matter, who would have thought there would be a gay bar in Tullahoma?

Well, Justin and John Cole did! About six weeks ago the couple began the hard work of opening The Station, Tullahoma’s newly opened, self-described “Alternative Lifestyle Bar and Nightclub.”

Surprise about the bar says more about preconceptions and misconceptions about smaller cities and towns in the South than it says about places like Tullahoma. “We wanted to open this place because there’s nowhere around here for people like us to go and hang out,” said Josh. “Tullahoma is way more open than people give it credit for.”

The couple, who married in Iowa, say they’ve never had any problems in the area. “We get a lot of support,” Josh says. He reports that the civic community, as well as the local LGBT community, have also been supportive of their new business endeavor. Despite a favorable business environment and an increasingly open community, the bar will also be doing its part to ensure a safe environment for its clientele. “We’re making a place for people to feel comfortable. There’ll be security inside and out.”

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for the new club is recruiting talent. This is the biggest difficulty for the club, as Tullahoma is around an hour’s drive from larger cities. “There are local drag queens but they mostly work in Nashville or go to Cookeville, so we’re trying to get people to come here.” In addition to drag performances, The Station is seeking to book burlesque shows and will have karaoke and other forms of entertainment.

The Station, a 9,000 square foot space, is still in development, so the opening is more of a gradual roll-out. “Right now we serve beer. Liquor is BYOB,” Josh said. “We’re still working on the kitchen, so there are a few things left to finish this month.”

Check out their Facebook page for up-to-date information and future events.



This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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