The start of the new year has brought an unusual flurry of activity with three new gay bars — and a fourth slated to open soon — on the scene to spice up District nightlife.
Trade (1410 14th St., N.W) is one of the fresher faces on the block having opened in December. The bar holds typical nightlife hours open Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Owned by business trio Ed Bailey, John Guggenmos and Jim Boyle, the same owners as Town and Number Nine, their concept for the bar was something different. Its website bills it as a “dive bar.”
“We just tried to make something that’s a little bit different from what exists currently so that it can be appreciated in a new way hopefully,” Bailey says. “We tried to program it a little differently with not the same stuff that you can just hear at any old bar, not predictable music.”
Predicability is something Bailey thinks has become a problem on the gay bar scene and he hopes Trade will change that.
“We wanted to do something that we thought would resonate for those maybe who have found the current bars to not be as intriguing as they might want and try to give them something that seems different,” Bailey says.
Standing out is also something Steven Champagne, co-operating manager of Woof Den Sports Bar (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.), also aims for.
Champagne, who is gay, says he has noticed the gay bar scene can have unfriendly vibes. He says Woof Den will be more accepting.
“It’s that non-attitude, non-pretentious, non-clique feeling,” he says. “When you go to my place, everyone is welcome. Nobody should feel like they’re not welcome. I feel like what that’s what gay bars have lost these days.”
Woof Den, located downstairs from the Salty Dog Tavern, has only been open for two weeks but Champagne, who manages the bar with co-operator Hicham Moutawakil, says they have big plans for the spot. Bear happy hours on Sundays, a cop/military night on Wednesdays and a pool league night are all in the works. Its hours of operation are seven days a week, open at 4 p.m. every day.
Other bars settling in amongst the gay bar scene are Uproar Lounge & Restaurant (639 Florida Ave., N.W.) and the soon-to-open Dirty Goose (913 U St., N.W.). Uproar, a bear bar, boasts a full food menu along with frequent happy hours including with local bear group Bear Nonsense. The bar has been tapped to host events for Human Rights Campaign such as Her HRC events. The bar also includes an open rooftop deck with seating available.
The Dirty Goose, which is marketing itself as a more upscale gay bar, will be located next to Nellies’s Sports Bar. The new bar’s website says its grand opening will be in spring of this year.