Pin It
Favorite

Nightlife- Gay Bars 

by Michael Bowen


Dempsey's Brass Rail


909 W. First Ave. * 747-5362


Sometimes stereotypes walk right into view. On a recent visit to Dempsey's, the first person who brushed past me in the entryway was a drag queen in a flimsy silver sequin top, gray miniskirt and black clutch purse.


She was 6-foot-4.


A guy in a Buffalo Sabres hockey jersey approached with his girlfriend, accidentally bumping into the jumbo queen.


"Don't touch me -- seriously, ever ..." the guy snarled. Then he broke into a grin and gave the female impersonator a big hug, burying his face in all those sequins.


People who look askance at the so-called "gay lifestyle" -- extra credit, by the way, if you can define whatever the "straight lifestyle" is -- tend to dismiss gay bars as dark, humorless places where men in leather growl come-ons. Gay people, they say, are all so ... different.


The Thursday night crowd at Dempsey's was different, yes -- definitely not under the bell curve. But what strikes a visitor to Dempsey's is that, unlike so many bars -- where people whisper and avert their eyes, hunched over their drinks like characters in some depressing French painting -- this is a happy, vibrant place.


Faces here are smiling, varied, freed from constraints. From the two guys dressed like lumberjacks, to the AARP matron in sheer black top and slit dress, to the girl in tie-dye leaning over a pool table, to Eric the cheerful bartender ("What can I get ya, hon?"), there's a convivial sense of forget-what's-out-there, I'm-in-here-now at Dempsey's.


As owner Larry Brown says, "We're a gay bar, but we're straight-friendly."


Upstairs, DJ QT ("Quantum Thrust") has dancers of all orientations gyrating until 4 am on the weekends to the pulsating beat of Gwen Stefani, Peter Schilling, Seal, Kylie Minogue and yes, Britney. The wooden floor, the speakers, the neon -- it's flashy and impressive.


Downstairs, meanwhile, during a karaoke party, a stunning woman in enormous raven-black pig tails pirouettes onstage. Whirling and lip-synching, she can bring it. And she knows she can bring it.


So does an entire table-ful of lesbians, who dutifully line up for the privilege of stuffing dollar bills into Ms. Pig Tails' cleavage.


They were self-conscious at first. But somewhere among the down-on-all-fours birthday spanks and the drunken whooping to Prince lyrics and the obligatory young woman in a white wedding dress crooning along to Madonna, the sisters let their shyness go. They were still a little nervous, but they were smiling.





The Merq


706 N. Monroe St. * 325-3871


"We're an alternative bar," says owner John Reid. "I don't want gay people to get the wrong idea, because we're not just for gays. This is a bar for all kinds of people."


Reid has transformed his coffeehouse into a nightclub with $80,000 in refurbishments, resulting in a very comfy and enlarged upstairs area decorated "San Francisco-style" with marble-topped wrought-iron tables, brick fireplaces and cozy nooks.





The Loft


410 W. Sprague * 455-7260


The Loft is flying low, under the radar -- OK, it's a dive -- but owner Lannie Kiehn has added a second level, expanding capacity from 35 to 150. There's "a jukebox for the older crowd" on the lower level -- couples in their 60s sit close together, men still in their work uniforms -- while upstairs there's a dance floor, pool tables and (soon) a karaoke machine. "We're a gay bar," says Kiehn, "but we're also a downtown neighborhood bar."





Mik N Mac's


406 N. Fourth St., CdA * (208) 667-4858


"We're a non-discriminatory bar, " says bartender and bouncer Kami Kiele. "We get mixed crowds here, predominately straight," she says.


With DJs spinning "hip-hop, alternative, techno, '80s music, Top 40 -- a little bit of everything," and drink specials every night (try the Surfer on Acid), Mik N Mac's provides CdA with its own little slice of bohemian living.





Publication date: 2/03/05

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Running Dry
  • Running Dry

    How Wild Waters slid from the top water park in the Inland Northwest to an abandoned ruin
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • Elson Floyd's Final Year
  • Elson Floyd's Final Year

    WSU president leaves behind a strong vision for the school's future
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • You Got Frenched!
  • You Got Frenched!

    Al French scuttles Todd Mielke's bid for county CEO; plus, a shoplifting death in Coeur d'Alene
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Michael Bowen

Most Commented On

  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

marijuana


Briefs


Comment


Publisher's Note


Courts


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation