Photo by Russell Bowen-Youngblood

2022 Person of the Year: Richard Ramey

With everything Atlanta Eagle owner Richard Ramey has had to deal with over the last few years, not to mention since the raid on his bar in 2009, he deserves some quiet(er) times. With the establishment now open again, he’s getting some of that, although — true to his nature — he won’t fully relax until the new bar is where he wants it to be, with a dance floor completed and other renovations done.


The Atlanta Eagle officially closed its doors at 306 Ponce De Leon Avenue at the end of November 2020, and even though Ramey knew he would need to search for another home, he had no idea it would take so long. It was a frustrating period.


“I was going to give [the search] until the end of the year,” he said. “I was working with two different agents, and it was tough to try and find a space that would work for all we needed. There were several spaces out there, but it was really important to have the kind of space we had and the kind of space we were able to finally secure. It was a challenge, a bigger challenge than I anticipated.”


When the new owners of the since-closed Midtown Moon, HV Entertainment out of Houston, called Ramey and told him they’d heard he was looking for a new home and that they — in turn — were aiming to re-brand the location, it was the genesis of the Atlanta Eagle’s new home.


Ramey says the re-opening weekend was overwhelming and epic. He estimates the Atlanta Eagle hosted 8,000 patrons throughout the weekend and 3,000 on opening night. “I did everything I could to greet each and every one of them. I was at the door and welcomed everyone. It was a special night I will never forget.”


With the excitement of Atlanta Pride returning to a live event this year, it seemed a given that the opening at the new location at 1492 Piedmont Road would be highly anticipated. What Ramey was not sure about was whether patrons would continue to come after the month of October. He has been gratified by the steady crowds.


“Anytime you take a business and it’s closed for two years, you never know what the community wants and needs,” said Ramey. “I did not know if we would continue to stay busy and have crowds after Pride and Halloween, but I can say they are still there and are happy. They have not stopped coming, and because of that, it encourages me to work even harder to make sure the Eagle is here for another 35 years. It has been a labor of love and for the community to show me the love and support they have in eight weeks has been incredible. I want to make sure people have a home to come to.”


The addition of Friday and Saturday drag performances has also taken off.


“For me, it is absolutely incredible, and the community has embraced it,” said Ramey. “Some people like to go to dinner shows, some like to go to movies, some want to go out and dance. Whatever you like to do is your personal choice. I wanted to make the Eagle a place for everyone. I never had the opportunity to have drag at the old location mainly because of the set up and space. It was not equipped to do shows. I still feel like our drag community is as important as the rest of us — our leather community, our transgender community, our bear community. We are one big family. Being able now to embrace another portion of our community — that is what I and the Eagle are about. To offer something new at the Eagle is very special. I love all the diversity we see here.”


When he knew that he wanted to incorporate drag, the first person he thought of was “the iconic” Charlie Brown, who performs Saturday nights at 9pm.


Ramey was born in East Point and has lived in this area his entire life. Some may not know that he has also operated a flower shop, Flower Cottage, there for 33 years. Flower Cottage has been the florist for Delta Airlines for the last 27 years and the company has many “wonderful clients, corporate and individuals.”


He bought the Atlanta Eagle 25 years ago with Robby Kelly and helped save the bar from going under. Ramey was also a founding member of Southern Bears and vividly recalls the freedom of dancing without a shirt on the Atlanta Eagle dance floor and feeling like he was no longer an outcast.


Even when he’s on vacation, he tends to work. He tries to be at the Eagle four to five days to week and works late hours Friday through Sunday.


He and his husband, Fernando Quintero, together for 13 years, did go to Italy over Thanksgiving. “It was much needed,” Ramey said. He credits Quintero for being his rock. “I would not be here without him. He is a big part of who I am and where the Eagle is today.”