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BREAKING: New owners speak out on closing of Raven in New Hope

The new owners of the Raven commented Monday evening on the announcement by current management earlier in the day that the bar/restaurant/hotel would close its doors on Oct. 14.

Gateway to New Hope confirmed that the property would close next month and be used as a valet parking lot for their new Riverhouse at Odette’s luxury resort, expected to open next spring at the southern end of New Hope on River Road. But they emphasized that they intended to build a new, improved club at the Raven site.

“We’d like to take a moment to recognize today’s news regarding The Raven,” said Julie Yeager, spokesperson for Gateway to New Hope.  “The Gateway to New Hope team is passionate about preserving the legacy of this renowned property, and while it will be taking a brief hiatus from its current operations as we work towards final approvals and permits in the development of an enhanced hotel and restaurant/bar experience for Raven guests, we know that the next chapter will continue to be welcoming with a friendly & relaxed atmosphere, including recreated Oak Room & Cabana Bar experiences, with enhanced amenities for the LGBTQ+ and greater New Hope community.”

Yeager also said the new hotel/restaurant/bar will keep the name “Raven,” and recreate its popular swimming pool. She wouldn’t comment on whether the old Raven structures will be completely torn down to accommodate the build out.

Yeager also wasn’t able to say how long the “brief hiatus from its current operations” was expected to be.

“The permitting process tends to be long, so we have no idea how quickly we can get through the process,” she said.

Gateway to New Hope announced June 11 that they had purchased the Raven, and said they didn’t have any immediate plans for development, but were “studying possible ways to enhance the property, as well as use the existing parking facilities to support event and hotel needs for the River House at Odette’s, once it opens in Spring 2020.”

The Raven was founded in 1979 at 385 W. Bridge Street, and represents New Hope’s last remaining gay club, following the demise of the Cartwheel and Prelude in years past. It draws large, diverse crowds year round, with a popular restaurant, three bars, hotel rooms, guest house, pool, lounge areas, and dance floor.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • I was a regular visitor to New Hope in the ’80s and ’90s. Sadly I have not been back since as I had some health problems from 1997-2015 and after that, my trips have all been to either Ptown or New Orleans. I remember gay life largely revolving around the Raven in New Hope and I enjoyed both staying there and enjoying the scene. It is really sad to hear that the gay scene in New Hope has kind lost its spark and I hope more places for us to congregate and dance return. While I too am fond of Grindr, I do not think these kinds of sites are nearly as much fun or as healthy meeting in person at our LGBTQ or non LGBTQ venues.

  • The raven just had shitty management, never changed with the times never ran themed nights or happy hour or sponsored events like rainbow mountain resorts or the woods campground still did ok but tge potential was there just never utilized

  • No one pushed anyone out. You guys were just no longer interested in going to gay bars because you could do your hooking up online.

    This is sad. The end of an era. I preferred going to a bar because you could at least see what you were getting instead of some fake online profile.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. No one wants to admit it but a Gay Bar is a business. If the Raven was doing so well it would never have been sold.

  • It is gone. All gone. 😔😔. Now lets see what gonna go down now. New Hope is just blah now.Our Raven is gone for some parking lot for some uppidy catering hall thats almosr 2 miles away.

  • Very sad loss that the last place is now closed – since the Cartwheel and Prelude and that place on the river New Hope will never be the same – unfortunately it seems that there is a lack of night life\night clubs in the area for singles to meet. my favor place was the Cartwheel but since it burned down i frequented the Raven. Now they are gone.. should i move? where do people go now a days? drive 1 hour to Philly? or 1 hr to NYC?

    • Very sad, indeed!!! There is a gay bar in Allentown, on north 10th Street –but, it still isn’t like being in New Hope What’s going on ? Allentown lost one of their gay bars–Cantina — and– there was a really nice gay bar in Bethlehem, but the girl who owned it, closed it up .everything seems to be on line ! Also sorry to hear about the closeing of “Sisters” a lesbian bar, in Philadelphia. Everything is going wrong. Any comments or questions about all this, please call me, at 610 369-0642 from 5 P.M. to 2 or 3 A.M

  • All the “little Trumpers” do not care about your LGBTQ bars/havens. No Christian suburbanites are jumping up & down. Believe it or not, we give this very small percentage of the population very little thought. I know what it’s like to lose a local hangout, a place I felt comfortable in & enjoyed going to every weekend. I didn’t blame anyone. Business is business. If you feel that strongly, do something about it. Get a group of investors together and open a new place. Peddler’s Village has plenty of space, plenty of parking & plenty of privacy. You want a place that caters to you? Create it yourself.

    • I live out of state & have a room reservation for 1 night on Sat Oct 26 @ The Raven. I was never contacted to let me know they were closing The Raven on Oct 14 nor did I receive a refund since the room had to be paid in full when making the reservation. I had only found out about this today when I tried to go onto their website to write down the address for my GPS. Otherwise my friend and I would have shown up to a closed estbaslihment after driving a few hours to get there. Why would they do something like this, I’m sure I’m not the only person who had a reservation after Oct 14, did they contact those people as well and give them a refund? Very sad.

  • Wait, can you hear? Listen can you hear it? I can hear all the ignorant Christian suburbanites cheering and jumping up and down that the last LGBTQ place in New Hope is closing. I live in Philadelphia and do not drive so it was hard to get there but the few times I went I enjoyed except for the horrible music. Believe me this leather rocker transgurl knew the Raven did not cater to hear but it was a place feel safe and NOTHING is going to open to replace it. Want to know how bad this is? There is not one place in Philly that caters to the transcommuity, all we have (had) was the Raven, now what? All the little Trumper’s are happy today. I hope there is one night left of sin and fun left in New Hope.

  • Yup; it’s never going to be the New Hope I came out in back in 1973. Everything changes over time and Gay people have so many other resources through which to meet others that I think it outlived its usefulness to the Gay community. Gay people are more liberated now with more government-driven legislation for freedom without fear. A new Gay venue will hopefully be established in the area (Peddler’s Village?) since New Hope’s reputation will live on with the help of visionaries who see a need for such a venue. The one institution that will be missed is our wonderful, talented, and inexhaustible fixture at the keyboard: Russ Eiffert.

    • Wait——slow down, everyone! The Raven, according to several published articles, including the New Hope Free Press, and other news sources, is only closing temporarily, until the new management, ‘Gateway to New Hope,’ completes all of the licensing and administrative details to open the River House at Odette’s, which is a new project that is scheduled to open in Spring, 2020.

      The Raven, according to Gateway to New Hope spokesperson, Kelly Lenz, will ‘temporarily’ be used as a valet parking lot, in order to shuttle patrons between the Raven’s generous parking lot, and the new River House venue.

      Now, frankly, I firmly believe that this plan is ill conceived from the gate. If there isn’t enough parking in the FIRST PLACE, to accommodate the new development on South Main Street——then, it’s not the right location for their project, and it will naturally faze out in very short order. As with everything in real estate, it’s ALL about: Location, location, location … and, the existing property of The Raven has already got that covered.

      Once the new ownership realizes and understands that their ‘pot of gold’ is where it has ALWAYS remained——at the Raven’s compound itself——then, they will refocus their time, resources and redevelopment commitment to facilitating the community with what We, the People SO ORDER. It’s really a simple matter of ‘Supply and Demand’ economics. There will not be any lines waiting to be ‘shuttled’ from an existing, prime location like The Raven, to the new and anticipated venue——especially if the new management team arbitrarily ignores the needs of what the New Hope community and the visiting, out of town guests want. That would be an automatic deal breaker for many——myself, and all of my Raven friends included.

      I, for one, in all reality, take a dim view of shuttle services to another location, and more importantly, I won’t be ‘herded’ to a new location when there is so much that can be done to preserve, conserve and renovate the original location (which is what Gateway has previously and recently assured its audience will take place over the next year), and many Raven patrons have resoundingly echoed my sentiments, regarding loyalty to this iconic, one of a kind establishment——and, one that should be protected under landmark status.

      So, what’s not to like? Wonderful, comfortable rooms, a full bar in the Raven’s entrance, the Oak Room in the back bar (hopefully, the fireplace will return to its wood burning origins), a first rate restaurant with garden views that surround nature, the wonderful deck that overlooks that incredible ‘Raven’ themed pool (replete with a giant, black raven made of tile at the pool’s bottom——a REALLY big draw for me, and my personal favorite), and then there were the incredible, diverse patrons themselves.

      Admittedly, the customer numbers have declined in recent years, in large part because of post capitalism, and the alienating ‘Digital Age’ that reinforces the end of humanism, altogether (a BIG mistake, and one that I correctly predict will faze out much sooner than later, in the interests of restoring good commerce, inclusionary activity, and sharing and togetherness). People are very good at doing a lot of things——but, loneliness and alienation aren’t one of them.

      When the new management realizes the great possibilities that already exist with their publicly announced plans for a complete renovation, restoration, conservation and Raven preservation, the crowds will surely return to that spacious location, and to also facilitate neighboring gay businesses like the ‘Lodge in the Woods’ across the street, and their ‘sister’ accommodations that include: Lodging, and ‘The Cub Room’ Bar, as well as the smaller pool area (which can NEVER be used as a substitute for the iconic Raven pool and spacious grounds).

      FINALLY, hope (as in New Hope) springs eternal, y’all——let your voice be heard thorough ALL available mediums of public forum. Let the new management know and understand that without YOUR patronage, YOUR purse strings and YOUR face-to-face AND voice-to-voice visibility, then none of their River House plans will be what they COULD endeavor to be.

      Hence, The Raven should be the concentrated priority to buttress all new and developing projects, because it’s an institution that will surely attract new and old patrons alike——providing that the new breed of investor money properly re-evaluates the importance of keeping their word, imparting FULL DISCLOSURE, TRANSPARENCY, and approachable and RELIABLE community relations, and the commitment to keep GOOD commerce in play, while entertaining all other projects that they wish to pursue, regarding the ‘OTHER,’ off site properties that they wish to propagate, namely ‘The Blue Moose,’ and now their newest venture capital project, The River House at Odette’s.

      But, without the ‘ORIGINAL,’ nothing can be properly calibrated for enterprising success, when the ‘NEW’ model rests on the desecration and destruction of the ‘OLDER’ model, which merely needs to be renovated for a fresh start in THIS, the second decade of the 21st century.

      I wish everyone luck——but, luck is only a very small part of the equation. As I have always, correctly maintained: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. But, also of cosmic portent, I likewise contend: The future (and, karma), ALWAYS have a peculiar way of arriving——UNANNOUNCED!

  • Everyone KNOWS this is the END of The Raven. You know once it’s closed it will be demolished and there will be many different reasons why a NEW structure won’t be built. Just like The Cartwheel (which was a Historical Building which should have protected it) it will be gone. Once the Raven is torn down the Raven is dead. Any new structure will NOT be the same, it won’t carry the History, Ambiance or feeling. It seems like New Hope will just not be a “Gay” mecca anymore.

  • The other shoe has fallen. All those looking to get jobs in Management there better start looking. End of a 30 year run.I am sure Bari all promised you a job. Blue Moose next to fall if wrong management takes over. On a another note Cub Room hired Rebecca who will probably be more at the bar than in the office annoying the paying customers with that very loud laugh. Why do straight girls come to gay bars. One reason is they cannot compete in a straight bar and then there is the free drinks they solicit.

    • Newsflash, Reggie! Straight girls can have gay friends. Perhaps the straight girl you mentioned was invited to the Cub Room by some gay friends. Shocking, I know. I’ve been there and never went back. Ceiling is too low and EVERYONE is too loud.

    • We, at The Cub Room, are VERY pleased to have Rebekah with us ! She is extremely kind AND a fantastic supporter, and valuable part of our New Hope Family !!! I just pray that we ALL can band together, and try and lift each other up, during this confusing time. As the old adage goes…. “It takes a village…”!❤️❤️❤️

  • Ive ALWAYS enjoyed coming to the Raven, however I felt the food was outshined by the ambiance. I hope the menu becomes less stale…shall we say. FRESHER? The food seemed ambitious and exciting on the menu but lacked a modern sophisticated flavor snd presetation on the plate. Also, hoping the piano bar remains a staple and even more extravagant shows!!! Looking forward to the rebirth!!

  • While I wish the best for all businesses concerned, I also want and expect the best for the residents of the community. This sounds like a shell game of parking for The Gateway to New Hope. Where were the cars going to park before this deal was worked out? Why will cars be traveling through town just to be parked? This is crazy business.

  • Like back in May, when The Raven closed, all of us at The Cub Room/New Hope Lodge will do our very best to accommodate our AMAZING Community until The Raven reopens. Speaking on behalf of all the New Hope Lodge staff, we wish our new neighbors only THE VERY BEST in their new vision. AND… we all look forward to building a common bond with them and for ALL of the members of our incredible New Hope Family !!!

    • Let us hope and pray that your premonitions are right, Scott Davis, and that the ‘Gateway to New Hope’ management keep their honor, integrity and word.

      New Hope is, after many years of ‘irrational exuberance,’ has spiked into a downward spiral of lost revenue, waning crowds and disinterested, sharply declining tourism. A lot of that can be properly ‘revived’ with the right investment stratagems regarding the reopening of The Raven. One good business rests on another, and the Raven’s prime location, iconic, full service accommodations and acreage couldn’t possibly be duplicated miles away on South Main Street——and, especially without a pool and cabana that offers poolside bar service——the liquid ‘bread and butter’ of ANY successful food service establishment.

      Keep the faith, Scott, and I will do the same——I am looking forward to great happenings next year for New Hope and The Raven——and, success and personal fulfillment to us all!

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