It is with deep regret I have to write this letter. This letter is to inform you that we have closed The Den as of September 1, 2016. As you can imagine this was an extremely difficult decision. I want to reach out to all of you to extend my thanks for all the years of support and friendship I have experienced at The Den.
The Den has been in my family my entire life. My grandfather, Manny and grandmother, Leah opened Manny’s Den (The Den) in 1944. After my grandparents retired, my father Richard, “Dick” operated the family business until it was passed on to me. My sister, Randi also grew up in this business, which we call home. It was truly a family establishment, its backbone focused on the fight for equality. Since its inception the institution of The Den has had numerous incarnations. During each of these lives we have experienced many battles, celebrations, emotional upheavals, lives lost, lives found all under the headline of love. I’m extremely proud that my heritage made a significant positive change for gay rights. As many of you know, my parents and grandparents fought the A.B.C. (The Alcoholic Beverage Control) a state run organization, for the right to be gay and congregate in public places. My family took their case to The State Supreme Court and won a landmark decision in 1967, essentially legalizing the right to be homosexual and to congregate in a public place, like a bar, a restaurant or a gym. We have come a really long way since 1944, but still have a long way to go.
Unfortunately, at this time, it is economically unfeasible to continue operating The Den in its present form. Many of our goals have been met and many have not. Yes, this is an ending, but also a beautiful, challenging and optimistic beginning. With that said, I want to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for a wonderful run. It truly has been exciting, exhilarating and really fun. I look forward to seeing you all soon, whether it is at Sophie’s Bistro, a gym, a bar, a cafe or everywhere we can go openly and live freely.
Stay well and enjoy.
Sophie’s Bistro/The Den
700 Hamilton Street, Somerset, NJ 08873