Capitol Hill’s latest entrant into the queer nightlife scene flung open it’s newly refurbished doors Friday night to an invite only crowd and suspiciously rave reviews, if their Facebook page is to be believed, at least. But, then, how telling would it be for Queer/Bar not to get a Day 1 5-star review from Dave Meinert, Capitol Hill nightlife impresario and part of the Guild Seattle group backing the freshman watering hole?
While the official opening of the venue is tonight, we were there for an invite only soft opening whose guests included Meinert, Council Member Kshama Sawant, and Seattle’s internationally-known gay power couple Dan Savage and Terry Miller – who’s headless torso is also featured as part of the bar’s decor. The rest of the decor was equally sleek and toned, from the white neon quote gracing the large brick wall, to the giant projection screen featuring a 21 hour loop of black and white movie clips from such classically gay faves as Pillow Talk and Working Girl.
My biggest question remains, though. Is Queer/Bar really a queer bar?
To answer that, we’d really have to settle on a definition of queer. According to Wikipedia, queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender. Does that mean that, if you’re a gay, cisgender, white man, you’re queer? Possibly. If that’s the case, then the place definitely lives up to it’s name, which, predictably, is to be found everywhere inside.
In another sense, being queer is being different. And this may be the primary way that Queer/Bar falls short. The glitzy, neon lit interior, $11 cocktails, predictable drag entertainment, and young, skinny, attractive, mostly white staff all smack of every other gay bar on the Hill.
According to their initial announcement, Queer/Bar is meant to be “an inclusive gathering space for the LGBTQIA community and strives to have a team, ownership, and clientele reflect the diversity of the city.” Given that Seattle is mostly white, mostly cisgender, and mostly well to do, then so far it’s been mission accomplished. Whether or not it draws in a crowd that reflects a broader and/or more accurate definition of diversity remains to be seen.
Photos by Robert Roth/Jetspace Magazine