Pulse nightclub

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Pulse Orlando logo.svg
Photo of a white low-rise building and parking lot.
Exterior in 2019
Full namePulse Orlando
Address1912 South Orange Avenue
LocationOrlando, Florida, U.S.
  • Barbara Poma
  • Ron Legler
OpenedJuly 2, 2004; 16 years ago (2004-07-02)
ClosedJune 12, 2016

Pulse was a gay bar, dance club, and nightclub in Orlando, Florida, founded in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler. On June 12, 2016, the club was the scene of the second worst mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, and the second deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the events of September 11, 2001. Forty-nine people were killed and fifty-three other people were injured.


A group of people wearing Pulse logo shirts parade down a brick street carrying a banner with the club's logo on it. An individual dressed as Robin from Batman leads the procession.
Pulse representation at Come Out with Pride, 2009

Pulse hosted themed performances each night and had a monthly program featuring educational events geared towards the LGBT community.[1] According to Orlando Weekly, Pulse featured "three glitzy, throbbing rooms of club boys, twinks and twinks at heart. Every night has something different in store, but Pulse is known to have some pretty impressive drag shows, and the bar's dancers are usually gorgeous."[2] Because of the three areas, Lonely Planet Discover Florida deemed it "three nightclubs,"[3] while their Florida volume focused on it being "ultramodern."[4]

Top 10 Orlando called it a "firm favorite for the Orlando gay crowd,"[5] The Rough Guide to Florida deemed it "justifiably popular," citing its "great lighting and sound plus cabaret performers, drag acts, and erotic dancers."[6] Pulse was the only gay club mentioned in The Rough Guide to the USA for Orlando.[7] According to listings, the entire premises, including the washrooms, were accessible.[8] Using "periodic consumer surveys," Zagat rated Pulse 25/30 for atmosphere, 25/30 decor, and 22/30 service.[9]


Then President Barack Obama stating Pulse was a refuge for LGBT and Hispanic people

In 1985—prior to Pulse's founding—the property located at 1912 South Orange Avenue was home to a pizza restaurant named Lorenzo's.[10] By 1999, it was called Dante's, a bar with live music.[11] Dante's closed in January 2003.[12]

Founded by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler, Pulse opened on July 2, 2004.[13][1][14] Poma's brother, John, died in 1991 from AIDS, and the club is "named for John's pulse to live on," according to a marketing staff member in February 2016.[15][16] The venue had a focus on local talent.[16] Poma ensured that her brother's memory was prominent on the website, and that the facility was more than "just another gay club."[15] Legler, who was president of the Florida Theatrical Association when Pulse was founded, also founded two nightclubs in Lake Eola Park in 2010, before moving to Baltimore in 2014.[17] The Washington Post described the club's first 12 years as "a community hub for HIV prevention, breast-cancer awareness and immigrant rights," and reported it had partnered with educational and advocacy groups such as Come Out with Pride, Equality Florida, and the Zebra Coalition.[15]

June 2016 shooting[edit]

see caption
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson visits Pulse and the makeshift memorial outside of it on the three-month anniversary of the shooting

On June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 58 others in a mass shooting. The attack was the deadliest single gunman mass shooting in United States history until the 2017 Las Vegas shooting,[18][19][20][21][22] the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history,[23] and the second deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11 attacks of 2001.[24][25][26]

In November 2016, the city of Orlando agreed to buy the nightclub for $2.25 million. Mayor Buddy Dyer expressed plans to convert the nightclub into a memorial to honor the memory of the victims.[27]

Barbara Poma, the owner, refused to sell the nightclub to the city in December 2016.[28] Instead she announced in May 2017 the creation of the onePULSE Foundation to independently fund a Pulse Memorial and Museum slated to open in 2022.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hjelmgaard, Kim (June 12, 2016). "Scene of mass shooting more than 'just another gay club'". USA Today. Gannett Company. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "Orlando gay bars". Orlando Weekly. Euclid Media Group. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  3. ^ Adam Karlin; Jeff Campbell; Jennifer Rasin Denniston; Emily Matchar (June 1, 2012). Lonely Planet Discover Florida. Lonely Planet. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-74321-015-4.
  4. ^ Adam Karlin; Jennifer Rasin Denniston; Paula Hardy; Benedict Walker (December 1, 2014). Lonely Planet Florida. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 615. ISBN 978-1-74360-250-8.
  5. ^ Cynthia Tunstall; Jim Tunstall (August 1, 2012). Top 10 Orlando. DK Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7566-9461-6.
  6. ^ Rough Guides (August 3, 2009). The Rough Guide to Florida (8th ed.). Penguin Group. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-4053-8013-3. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Samantha Cook (March 1, 2011). The Rough Guide to the USA. Rough Guides. p. 1082. ISBN 978-1-4053-8954-9.
  8. ^ Frances Green (April 1, 2012). Gayellow Pages USA No. 34 2012-2013. Renaissance House. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-885404-28-2.
  9. ^ "PULSE - Zagat Review". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Sherman, Chris. "What's Cooking in Pizza Circles". The Orlando Sentinel. July 19, 1985.
  11. ^ Joseph, Scott. "A Fortuitous Fusion". The Orlando Sentinel. February 26, 1999.
  12. ^ Gray, Tyler. "Caught in Headlightz: Bar Changes Act". The Orlando Sentinel. January 17, 2003.
  13. ^ Matthews, Mark K. "Pulse's Space a New Odyssey for Chic". The Orlando Sentinel. July 9, 2004.
  14. ^ West, James (June 12, 2016). "Orlando's Pulse Nightclub Was Founded by a Woman Whose Brother Died from AIDS". Mother Jones. Foundation for National Progress. ISSN 0362-8841. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c "Orlando's club Pulse owes its name and spirit to 'loving brother' who died from AIDS". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "The Pulse of Orlando". Next. February 3, 2013. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  17. ^ Sentinel, Orlando. "Ron Legler, 'champion' of downtown and the arts, leaving Orlando". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  18. ^ "Fifty dead in Orlando gay nightclub shooting, worst mass killing in modern U.S. history; gunman reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State". Los Angeles Times. June 12, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Lyons, Kate (June 12, 2016). "Orlando Pulse club attack: gunman behind shooting that killed 49 'named as Omar Mateen'". The Guardian. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  20. ^ "Gunman in nightclub shooting had been investigated for terrorist links". CBC News. June 12, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  21. ^ Beckett, Lois (June 12, 2016). "Orlando nightclub attack is deadliest US mass shooting in modern history". The Guardian. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  22. ^ Yeung, Peter (June 12, 2016). "Gunman's 'terror attack' on gay nightclub leaves 50 dead". The Independent. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  23. ^ Stern, Mark Joseph (June 12, 2016). "The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America". Slate. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Fantz, Ashley; Karimi, Faith; McLaughlin, Eliott C. (June 12, 2016). "50 killed in Florida nightclub, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance". CNN. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "Obama: Orlando An Act Of 'Terror And Hate'". Sky News. June 12, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  26. ^ Swanson, Ann (June 12, 2016). "The Orlando attack could transform the picture of post-9/11 terrorism in America". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  27. ^ Kreps, Daniel (November 9, 2016). "City of Orlando Buying Pulse Nightclub to Create Memorial". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Pulse nightclub owner says she won't sell to city". Orlando Sentinel. December 5, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  29. ^ Bendix, Aria. "Pulse Nightclub to Become a Memorial and Museum". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 12, 2017.

External links[edit]