Bob Martin grew up in Binghamton, New York, and was in the service before moving to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. In 1979, a friend in Florida told Bob about a town in Pennsylvania and a new gay bar that had just opened. The town was New Hope, and the bar was the Raven.
Bob wanted the ambiance of living in the country, so he came up to see what New Hope was all about. He said he found a wonderful gay community, where everyone helped each other. People came to escape the cities of Philadelphia and New York on the weekends and many never left, including Bob.
Having been in the medical profession, Bob always had a love of antiques. With his business partner, he owned The Asia House, selling ancient pieces from China. He also learned how to bartend from his friend Don Baker at the Prelude. It was Don who influenced Bob to stay in New Hope.
In 1980, the Old Cartwheel bar was up for sale. Bob and his partner Tom decided to buy it and changed the name to the Baron. After extensive renovations, the Baron was opened. At that time, Danny Windsor brought his troupe “La Cage aux Folles” to town along with Danee, who had been a Las Vegas showgirl. Bob gave Danee a room upstairs at the Baron. The shows at the Baron were packed, whether it was a drag show, review, or comedy. He said he was proud that he provided a friendly place for all those who entered the Baron.
After owning the Baron, Bob went on to work at the Raven, where he stayed for 26 years. He said he worked with the best people and over the years met the most wonderful customers. He remembered Karl Sheldon, a carpenter from Scotland who designed and built the Oak Room Bar at the Raven.
It was also at the Raven that Bob met his future husband, Frank. It was the day before Valentine’s that Frank came into the Raven while Bob was working. The next day he returned with flowers and the rest was history. They were together for over 20 years and married at the Raven. Sadly, Frank passed away in 2020.
Bob reminisced about Mother’s famous brunches and going to breakfast at Sneddon’s. He continued to work in New Hope at the Giant and is now living in Morrisville, PA. His favorite memories are of the Baron and the Raven and “all the beautiful family of friends.”