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New lesbian bar A League of Her Own opens in Adams Morgan

Pitchers’ sister pub is new venture from former JR.’s manager Perruzza

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League of Her Own, gay news, Washington Blade

League of Her Own (Washington Blade photo by Tom Hausman)

Since the closing of Phase One in 2016, lesbian women in D.C. have been forced to schedule their nightlife choices around weekly or monthly parties hosted for them around town.

David Perruzza hopes to change the landscape of D.C. nightlife for queer women with his new lesbian bar, A League of Her Own.

The space, which officially opened on Aug. 16, is located right next to Pitchers (2317 18th St. N.W.), Perruzza’s newly opened gay sports bar.

Perruzza, who was a former manager at JR.’s Bar for years, said he had been thinking about D.C.’s need for a lesbian establishment since working at JR.’s.

“One day I had this couple come in and they said, ‘Hey, are there any lady bars?’ I was like, ‘No, there’s not’ and the look of disappointment on their face. I was like, ‘Wow, this is really sad that this is the nation’s capital and we don’t have a bar for the ladies,’” Perruzza says.

When Perruzza went to check out the building for Pitchers, he noticed an intriguing feature of the space that sparked an idea for a second business venture.

“I literally walked down and I saw this space and was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a separate entrance. I can put a lesbian bar in there. It could be like a league of their own.’ Then I’m like ‘Oh, a League of Her Own.’ That’s literally how I came up with the name,” he says.

While Pitchers and A League of Her Own have the same sports bar concept, Perruzza describes A League of Her Own as “more earthy” with a more industrial design.

A League of Her Own will also feature a foosball table, pool table and TVs and video games just like its Pitchers counterpart.

“I was like, ‘What do I do for the people that don’t know anybody? What do I do for the introverts or the people from out of town? So they didn’t have to really interact too much or feel awkward?” Perruzza says.

From his past working at video bar JR.’s, where people could watch videos instead of socialize, Perruzza decided video games would be an ideal choice. 

He admits he’s “learning” about the lesbian community but still wanted to ensure someone connected to the community would be managing the establishment. He hired Jo McDaniel, who identifies as a lesbian and formerly worked at Phase One.

“It is owned by a gay guy but it’s run by a lesbian. In the past, I think a lot of lesbian bars have been owned by a gay guy and run by a gay guy,” Perruzza says.

Plans for events and parties are still in development. In the meantime, A League of Her Own will host monthly events for charity on Thursdays. Cover is $5 and all proceeds will benefit a different LGBT charity organization. On Aug. 16, Casa Ruby will be the charity of the month. Wanda Alston House is the planned charity for September.

Since Pitchers is right next door to A League of Her Own, Perruzza hopes that the spaces can foster an inclusive environment without being intrusive. Some patrons of Pitchers have chosen to check out the next door bar but ultimately have been “very respectful of the fact that this is one of the only spaces for queer women to go to,” according to Perruzza.

The location of A League of Her Own and Pitchers isn’t in the typical D.C. gay neighborhoods of U Street or Dupont Circle. Perruzza says he worried about the location for “a brief moment” but realized that in the age of Uber people could still easily access the bars. He also has heard that it’s helped renew nightlife for LGBT people who live in the Adam’s Morgan/Woodley Park area.

Perruzza says one of the best parts of having gay bars outside the gayborhood is that it brings a diverse group of people together.

“It’s creating a small town bar feel that forces lesbians, transgender people and gay men all to go to one bar to talk,” he says. “That’s exactly what’s happening here and its pretty amazing because the lesbian community has a lot more women of color. The women coming up stairs (to Pitchers) are making the men who are of color come in here and feel very comfortable. So it’s creating this amazing environment in the bar of people just chilling and talking to each other. Just every different type of person you can think of.”

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Bars & Parties

KINETIC: Pride DC launches with 3 major events

Weekend kicks off Friday with UNCUT XL at BLISS

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KINETIC: Pride DC will partner with Capital Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride month with three official events that will feature leading gay DJs: Abel, Ben Bakson, Joe Pacheco, Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 10 at 10 p.m. with UNCUT XL at BLISS Nightclub. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel will headline the city’s “most risqué circuit event of the year” at BLISS nightclub.

“Uncut is returning to DC Pride for the first time in four years so there will be lots of sweating, dancing, and men bumping and sliding into one another on the main floor as well as in the play zone,” said producer Jesus Quispe in a press release late May.

 KINETIC: Pride Galactic Edition will be on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. at Echostage. DJs Dan Slater and Ben Bakson will perform back-to-back sets. DJ Joe Pacheco will open the night.

The series of events will wrap up on Sunday June 12 with DC Pride’s official closing party, “discoVERS” at 10 p.m. at SAX in Downtown D.C. Disco-diva Alexis Tucci will spin an open-to-close set with Disco, Nu-Disco, and Disco House music all night long. Special performances throughout the night will be integrated into her high-energy disco set as well.

To purchase tickets, visit KINETIC: Pride DC.

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage

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R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Bars & Parties

Kiki quickly becomes popular LGBTQ destination

New bar on U Street plans summer expansion, patio space

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Kiki, at 915 U St., is already drawing crowds. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a New Year’s Eve soft opening, Kiki has become one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Washington, D.C.

The two-floor bar takes over the space vacated by Velvet Lounge and Dodge City on the 900 block of U Street. Both closed during the pandemic. The locale is directly adjacent to another gay bar, Dirty Goose.

Owner and gay man Keaton Fedak, a general manager at Dirty Goose, noticed that these two next-door bars had gone dark during the pandemic, and met with the owners of the two buildings, who are cousins. Plans quickly developed to use both buildings to craft an expansive, interconnected, inclusive space to transform the city’s gay bar landscape.

Fedak called the bar “Kiki” both after himself (it’s a nickname) and for its connection with the LGBTQ community. “The word wasn’t invented by the Scissor Sisters song,” he explains. “It’s been an important concept in the community for decades.”

The first half of Fedak’s vision has already opened. The ground floor of the 915 U St. building is open-plan space with bar stools and a color-block wall of rainbow panels. A bar sits in the back up a short flight of stairs. This level will feature music, but quieter than the second-floor space. There, a DJ booth presides over a large dance floor. Disco lights flood this space; there is a bar on this level as well. The elevated dance floor is set to hold drag shows.

In the spring, a small patio will open, strung with fairy lights. It will have a “backyard aesthetic,” he says, to be green, bright, and relaxing. “It’s a good place to chill on a nice day outside.” It may even be reminiscent of Town Danceboutique’s popular patio.

The second half, at 917 U St., is still waiting for permits, and Fedak hopes to open this section in the summer.

It will connect to the current space via the outdoor patio. This section will have more of a sports bar feel, given Fedak’s connection to D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League (he is a former board member). The bar will welcome Stonewall Sports and other LGBTQ sports teams, and will be replete with plenty of mounted TVs to show various games.

After the closing of Cobalt and Town, Fedak wanted to ensure that Kiki was “an inclusive space, so that there’s vibes for everyone,” he says. “It should be a place where regulars would just show up and hang out.” He made sure that he recruited staff from different professional and personal backgrounds.

Fedak began working in food and hospitality at age 17 in his hometown in Pennsylvania. After moving to the D.C. area for work, he continued to moonlight as a bartender. Fedak joined Dirty Goose as general manager in 2019 before starting his Kiki journey.

To stock the bar, Fedak has plenty of spirits to go around. There is a focus on the vodka offerings, but he ensures that local distilleries take center stage: He carries District Made Vodka and Rye Whiskey, as well as Green Hat Gin. The beer game is also a winning strategy: there are more than 25 bottles and cans available, with three beers on tap. Local options are first-string, including selections from DC Brau, Right Proper, and Anxo Cider. Finally, the bar comes complete with a house margarita on tap (“ it’s a homemade recipe,” notes Fedak, using agave nectar syrup instead of sugar). The 16-ounce marg is always on special for $10.

While Kiki doesn’t serve food, Fedak is exploring options for a small truck or stand in the backyard.
Moving forward, Kiki will host weekly events. The bar already hosts drag shows during “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties. Fedak plans to begin a “Cobalt-style underwear contest” as well. Once COVID cases decline, he also wants to resurrect the Sunday funday parties that Cobalt would host with sports teams.

Fedak’s mantra for Kiki is evident in the mural that will take up the backyard patio – a quote from “Schitt’s Creek”: “I like the wine and not the label.”

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