Michigan was once known for their automobiles but since the turn of the millennium, cars have taken a back seat to quantity and quality of beers we produce. So it doesn't come as too big a surprise to me that stories like this keep popping up. The county I grew up in's longest running bar has new life. Being regarded as a safe place and welcoming those in the LGBTQ+ community, Liberty Bar in Pontiac, Michigan is a staple of the community.

According to the owner, it’s operated longer than any other bar in Oakland County, and in the country. The bar opened for business in 1930 as the "Liberty Bar and Cafe." The building itself went up in 1879 and was first a grocery store, followed by a bakery and then shoe shop, before it became the Liberty Bar. Pontiac-native Brett Nicholson purchased the business for $250,000 in November from its former owner, Kent Piatt after hearing plans of closing it down. He told the Oakland Press he just couldn't have that happen because of the impact it has on the local LGBTQ community:

This is the only LGBT-friendly space between Flint and Royal Oak. This is a place where people can come to see their friends, build community and be comfortable. This place is a part of our community that was almost lost. I couldn’t just see it go. To me, the most affirmative experience is seeing a transgender person come here for the first time as themselves. They leave this place feeling like this was the best place to come and be themselves. The problem with advertising the bar as an LGBT space in Pontiac is that people then feel like this isn’t a place you can just come for lunch.

Nicholson recently put in $22,000 in renovations and added a new food and drink menu. ALL are welcome at the Liberty Bar.

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