Editors' Note: Guest blogger Jim Barrett has been writing for over a decade at jimbo.info, a personal journal and potpourri of news about Washington, DC and the l/g/b/t community. He started blogging to supplement a bad memory and to share his opinions with the world.
"Hey! I'm coming to DC this weekend and I'd love to see you!" It was another short-notice request on a Thursday to be Julie the Cruise Director, but I held back a snarl of annoyance and reviewed the social options available in town.
This particular guest had gone to college here but a lot of changes have happened since then. As I counted off all the new clubs and bars that have opened in the last five years I was struck with how many nice, new options we have in our understated gay village. Town, Nellie's, Secrets, BeBar, and Halo to name a few, with Cobalt, Remington's, and Apex receiving recent facelifts as well. And then there's the occasional once-a-month venues that offer nightlife options at alternate venues, including Blowoff, Taint and Mixtape.
Reports of the death of gay nightlife have been greatly exaggerated. Gay bars aren't going away anytime soon, but they are adapting and evolving with the times. Gone are the days of cheap particle board dance boxes, flat black paintjobs and darkened windows. These new venues are bright, open and quite often mixed. I went into Nellie's one night during the March Madness basketball tournament and I would guess the crowd was at least one-fourth straight on the ground level. And more straight bars are inviting the gays as well, like Solly's on 14th or Stoney's across from Whole Foods on P Street.
People are like Cheerios in milk - we'll always stick together with others of like interest or orientation, and I predict we'll still need a place to go out and have a drink no matter how affirming society becomes. But these days our options in larger cities are nicer and we have more choices. So raise a glass for our new digs and bring your straight friends to hang out too.