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Barn back in business

REBORN FROM THE ASHES. The Barn will reopen as a gay bar, though spokesperson Russell Palloo won?t say when.

The Barn, the late Janko Naglic’s legendary three-floor dance and cruise bar, has been sold. The deal, which included both the historic building and the business, officially closed on Sep 10.

“We’re excited about bringing back a big piece of our history for Toronto’s gay community to enjoy now and in the years to come,” stated Russell Palloo, the new general manager of the Barn, in a press release announcing the deal.

Palloo, who was the general manager of Five Nightclub from 2004 to ’05, is acting as spokesperson for the so-far anonymous new owners.

“The identities of the three new gay owners and the official launch party date will be announced at a later time,” read the press release.

According to Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario spokesperson Ab Campion an application was received on Aug 3 to transfer the liquor licence for the Barn to CMB2 Inc of which Carl Bremmer is listed as a director.

In mid-August, after the deal was underway and Palloo had been hired as the club’s new manager, he created a Facebook group to spread the rumour that the Barn was reopening. The group now has more than 265 members.

Palloo says he started the group “for two reasons: To create a community buzz and to get opinions from many people as to what the expectations and desires for a new Barn are,” adding that he envisions the bar as “a fun and vibrant community melting pot.”

The Barn went up for sale in June 2006. The asking price for the building itself — constructed in 1891 and designated historic in 2006 — was initially listed as $1.85 million with the business listed separately at $295,000. Paloo says the new owners paid $1.8 million for both.

There has been a gay bar at Church and Granby since Naglic opened Jo-Jo’s on the second floor of 418 Church St in 1975. Over the years the business expanded to become the three-storey complex known as the Barn. Naglic bought the property in 1988 for $1.4 million and ran it until his murder in October 2004.

Although the club continued operating for several months following Naglic’s death, it was closed temporarily after a chimney fire in January 2005. The building underwent renovations and reopened in May 2005, but was shut down again in June of that year amidst concerns about structural problems.

Renovations are currently underway.