Pegasus Closes Downtown

Pegasus, one of Pittsbrgh’s oldest gay and lesbian nightclubs, closes.   Opened in June 1980 by David Morrow, Pegasus was a safe haven for gay people to be themselves and meet others with like-minded interests without the worry of being hassled.

In 2003, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust purchased the building, replacing the street-level Condom World and an adult bookstore with Space art gallery. They also made Pegasus remove its sign which had hung over the sidewalk for years.

The entrance to the bar at 818 Liberty Avenue which was marked only by a red Pegasus figure, lead down a set of steep stairs. When you reached the bottom, the entire bar was visible: the alcohol-free section on the right, for the club’s college-age patrons; the dance floor in the middle; and the main bar on the left, marked by a large crescent-moon statue with puckered red lips.

The nightclub was also where researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found people for the Pitt Men’s Study, the oldest ongoing study of the natural history of the HIV. Two years before the virus was identified, patrons of Pegasus and other gay establishments were given free beer in exchange for providing samples of their blood.

In 2005, Scott Noxon purchased the bar and operated it until its closure in 2009, when the bar was then relocated to the first two floors of the Pittsburgh Eagle on the North Side.   The original Pegasus sign and a replica of the Staircase Lounge sign now hang in the window at the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.