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Unconfirmed reports say Denton gay bar Mable Peabody's has closed its doors after nearly four decades

Mable Peabody's Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair, a bar that catered to Denton's gay community for almost 40 years, was closed Tuesday during its usual business hours. 

Rumors swirled online this past weekend that Sunday was the last night the bar would be open. However, no one from the business has said publicly that the nightclub is permanently closed. 

Kelly Sanders, who has owned the bar since 1994, did not return calls for comment. 

Seyed Bagheri, the property owner, said he hasn't talked to Sanders about the bar closing. Her lease on the space at 1125 E. University Drive is set to expire Sept. 30, and it has not been renewed. 

"She didn't tell me anything about it," Bagheri said Tuesday. "No notification that she was going to leave."

D magazine reported Tuesday the bar was permanently closed. Arts editor Lyndsay Knecht said she went to Mable's on Sunday evening, rumored to be the bar's final night, and was asked to not write that the bar was closing. 

The line was out the door to get into the club Sunday evening, but the two bartenders in charge would not say if it was, in fact, the last night in business. 

During its time open, Mable's has been a place where gay Denton residents and their friends could relax with a drink and let their guard down — especially in a time when more people were closeted at work and in other spaces. Twenty years ago, on an April night in 1997, a standing-room-only crowd packed the small, smoky bar for the famous episode of Ellen in which the star, comedian Ellen Degeneres, came out on the show and in real life.

The neighborhood bar has staged drag shows, burlesque acts and live music in a casual environment. On a few occasions, the bar has been a gathering space for political activism. After the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, people gathered at the bar to comfort one another.

The bar's original location at 1215 E. University Drive was damaged in an arson fire in 2007. It later reopened at 1125 E. University. 

Staff writer Lucinda Breeding contributed to this report.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.