Someone new may soon take ownership of Burkart’s Pub. 
Photo: Channel 2 Actions News
Photo: Channel 2 Actions News

Exclusive: Former owner of Jungle interested in buying Burkhart’s Pub

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed information about an offer for Burkhart’s Pub made by the owner of Ten.

Days after Burkart’s Pub’s entertainment crew resigned over controversial Facebook posts that surfaced from one of the owners, the longtime proprietors are fielding offers to sell the bar. 

One of those interested in potentially assuming ownership is Richard Cherskov, who owned LGBT bar Jungle until it closed in November when he was unable to renew the lease due to Cheshire Bridge Road development.

When reached by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday, Cherskov said that “so many things need to happen” before it would be a done deal, and talking is as far as it’s gone so far. 

“It’s definitely an institution worth saving,” Cherskov said. “I think that if there were new owners installed, and new management, that the revenue would recover and it could continue to serve the community.”

Cherskov said many of the employees at Burkhart’s worked for him at Jungle, and he wants to see that they’re taken care of. A sale would hinge on the owners negotiating in good faith, he said.

“As embroiled as they are in this controversy, I think they want to know that the new owners will be a good caretaker,” Cherskov said. “Hopefully I'm that person.”

READ | Burkhart’s performers say they’ve all quit; Facebook page is down 

The owners did not immediately respond to a message Monday.

sale of the gay bar was in the works late last week but it fell through, co-owner Mary Marsh told Channel 2 Action News Friday. Project Q Atlanta | Q Magazine reported Monday that James Nelson, owner of Ten, said in a Sunday Facebook post that he “made a very generous offer to Palmer” but was turned down. 

Ten also serves the LGBT community, in which Cherskov and Nelson are well-known.

During the interview with Channel 2, Mary Marsh said she is “not racist.”

“My son-in-law is black and I love him with all my heart,” she told the television station. “I have been very good to this community. It’s always been a fun place to come.”

The bar was closed Friday and Saturday, but reopened Sunday without its entertainment staff. 

Head chef and kitchen manager Deborah Williams, who answered the bar’s phone Monday afternoon, said she hopes Cherskov is able to buy the “very good establishment.”

“He could turn it around,” said Williams, who has worked at the bar for almost a year. Williams added that the employees have nothing to do with “racist things that have been said.” 

READ | Owner of Atlanta gay bar under fire after controversial posts surface

The shakeup at the bar follows circulation of a screenshot that appears to show owner Palmer Marsh, 70, using a racial slur about former President Barack Obama. One post on his account last week read: “If the South had won, we would be a hell of a lot better off.” 

Another said: “My Confederate money that I inherited is on my kitchen counter. RIGHT NOW! Steal the money, if you like, but don't try to take my flag because you might get seriously injured by doing so.” Those posts were both from 2015.

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Previous coverage:

Threats of a boycott forced the bar to close its doors.

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