What Makes a Good Bar?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 7:24 PM GMT
    So, I've begun bartending at a bar in the Chicago area which has just started to get over its new and fresh phase. Its a really beautiful bar, but its also very strange. For example, Friday night our crowd was very much the younger hipster, sporty, and model crowd, then Saturday night it was noticeably more bearish and harder to define.

    Now let me clarify that neither I, nor the owners, care about the crowd's makeup, but what we do care about is how we make our bar better in a general sense. So I figured I'd solicit the forums for your ideas. What is it that makes a bar a destination for you? We all know that there are bars people go to because its 'the bar' but what is it about a bar that gets you excited to go?

    So I've asked the question in two or three different ways, thanks ahead of time for your responses.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Apr 14, 2008 7:40 PM GMT
    My bars of choice have always had a mix of different types of people..all walks of life. Bars where everyone looks the same are boring and kind of creepy.

    They are places where you can stand a socialize, dance to good curent music, and have areas less noisy and crowded where you can sit with friends and be able to actually talk.

    I'm not big on theme nights. If I want to go out I want to go out, and not because bar 'X' is having 'X' theme night.

    Staff in underwear is always a plus too! icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 14, 2008 7:43 PM GMT
    Theming

    I want a visit to a bar to be a good experience. But also that theming has to be updated regularly. I am spoilt for choice in London tho!

    Also good music and sexy barmen always help so you have one of the parts right icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 14, 2008 7:49 PM GMT
    Loose women.

    Oh...ahem...a diverse crowd is good, definitely. Great music, yes. Strong drinks, essential.

    Loose women.
  • redheaded_dud...

    Posts: 408

    Apr 14, 2008 7:50 PM GMT
    Themes don't do anything for me either, with one notable exception: trivia! I love trivia night anywhere, and unfortunately, end up staying way longer than I would have without the trivia. Good luck to ya!
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    Apr 14, 2008 7:53 PM GMT
    A good bar should have the following:

    Sexy, modern, trendy decor

    Clean toilets with lots of cubicles cos gay boys are shy

    Coat check

    Bar prices that are not extortionate

    Sexy bar staff who occasionally smile when serving customers. They should not spend time chatting to each other while you're waiting for a drink. Nor should they ignore ugly men.

    Good music that only gets louder as the bar gets busier

    And finally:

    A sexy, mixed, friendly, happy crowd.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 7:53 PM GMT
    I always divide bars into two types. So called neighbourhood bars, and dance clubs.

    In Toronto "Woodys" is the best known neighbourhood bar, it has pool tables and at least four bars, as well as a small outside patio for smokers. It is a great bar to go to in the afternoon to talk with friends over a few drinks. I go there with my softball team sometimes after a Saturday afternoon game.

    I like dance clubs with a large dance floor. That sounds intuitively obvious but you would be surprised how many dance bars have small dance areas. There used to be a great dance bar in Toronto called Komrads. It was not great because of the clientele (it had a lot of twinkies with attitude) but it had a wonderful dance floor that I could dance on until the wee hours of the morning.

    Another plus for any dance club is a large outside patio where people can go to get away from the noisy music and converse. In the summertime it is great to get outside and cool off.

    Like ShawnTO it is a bonus to have a crowd that is mixed in terms of age and ethnic background. However, I find that is hard to do. Older men (45-50 up) usually gravitate to different bars then young guys. Some of these bars have members of the oldest profession plying their trade.

    Finally, if you have a dance club please play a range of music. For some reason gay bars think that everyone likes the same music. One can only take so much of the dance version of the popular Top40 hits by Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston or Madonna, and playing house music for hours on end is mind numbingly boring unless your brain is on illicit chemicals.
  • kaccioto

    Posts: 284

    Apr 14, 2008 7:54 PM GMT
    an upscale irish pub, with skee-ball in the back. we already have a plethora of west side glitz lounges or east village watering holes....something in the middle would be great, with skee-ball.
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:29 PM GMT
    a good bartender icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:33 PM GMT
    Moudi saida good bartender icon_lol.gif


    Spoken like a true 100% horny 20 year old gay male. I am glad things have not changed too much in the last 25 years or so.icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:33 PM GMT
    Wysiwyg60 said[quote][cite]Moudi said[/cite]a good bartender icon_lol.gif


    Spoken like a true 100% horny 20 year old gay male. I am glad things have not changed too much in the last 25 years or so.icon_lol.gif[/quote]


    haha, i cannot argue that im a 100% horny 20 year old gay male who has been on a dry spell since august icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:49 PM GMT
    August? OMG I would explode!
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    Apr 14, 2008 8:55 PM GMT
    Wysiwyg60 saidAugust? OMG I would explode!


    Lol, its not that rare of a thing. Thanks for the advice so far you guys. Think that trivia idea is top notch, especially for this bar. Also the different sound levels might gain some major traction.
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    Apr 14, 2008 9:00 PM GMT
    For clubs, I would like to add:

    Dance floor should be accessible, i.e. it should be very easy to get on and off the dance floor.
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    Apr 14, 2008 9:18 PM GMT
    Wysiwyg60 saidAugust? OMG I would explode!


    yeah...tell me about it
  • dhinkansas

    Posts: 764

    Apr 14, 2008 9:28 PM GMT
    Pour Moudi is going to explode. Take cover folks...it could be messy. Villages at the bottom of the hill will be swept away by the pent up raging river of lava.

    Diverse is good in a bar. In the people, music, and drinks. The same kind of music gets boring for an entire evening. Mix it up...not just the diva du jour.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 9:28 PM GMT
    music. not your traditional gay bar top 40 remixes. But actual cutting edge music that brings in a more with it crowd and some better quality str8 folks.

    If you need a DJ, I will fly up!

    Attractive and friendly staff.

    Not too many special nights. If the bar is a different place every night it will have a transient crowd.

    Lord, I could go on. I have thought about opening a bar myself, but it is too small town here in Austin. I want soething with a bigger city mentality and sophostocation.

    email me if you want more opinions. I am very opinionated in this subject.... Both as a formaer tender, a patron and a DJ
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2008 9:36 PM GMT
    A nice happy hour with "2 for 1" and some nice snacks will get the place buzzing early. This seems especially successful if you're in a business area and folks can stop by right after work and have a beverage before the "night" crowd comes in.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 14, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    Good Music and cute guys...

    If those two things are there it could be in somebody's garage for all I care
  • NYCguy74

    Posts: 311

    Apr 14, 2008 9:59 PM GMT
    I'm more into the neighborhood bar / lounge / pub than dance clubs. I even like sports bars even though i'm not into professional sports that much. Plus i worked at a dance club in Houston for a couple years, and I'm a little burned out on them. not to mention i've never been much of a dancer.
    I guess to answer the original question. Good drinks - either a "specialty" drink that you are known for and do well- like margaritas for example. or a good and varied selection of beer outside of the standard few.

    -to quote monty python
    Why is american beer like making love in a canoe?
    it's f*cking close to water.

    and like others have said a variety of settings if space allows. instead of just one big room with bars on the edge and a dance floor in the middle. Outside is nice, but now that New York is no smoking it's not as bad inside.

    Although the most interesting dance floor I've seen is at Mannequins at Disney world. It was a big 30 to 40 foot diameter turn table. So if you went to go get a drink or whatever, you had to wait at the edge for you friends to come back around before you got on. the few times i went, i don't remember seeing many falls despite the mix of alcohol and a spinning floor. (although the roller skating rink didn't last too long, Last time i was there it was an arcade, but the big wooden oval was still there)
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    Apr 14, 2008 10:01 PM GMT
    me & my boyfriend (dean) have been to various gay bars in the los angeles area ...

    actually, im kind of picky when it comes to gay bars because i easily get bored when i just see people or gay boys just stare at each other or just talk to each other ...

    well, i don't drink except water (of course my boyfriend knows) so my friends and even my boyfriend's mom & his friends are kind of asking why i go to gay bars when i don't drink ...

    well, i go to gay bars to dance ... to watch how go-go boys dance ... and to watch what people do inside the bar ...

    me & my boyfriend like "people watching" ... because its fun and we enjoy "people watching" a lot ...

    in silverlake, we've been to mj's, faultline, akbar ...

    in west hollywood, we've been to fubar, arena, the abbey, spotlight, eleven, etc ...

    but the best gay bar for me & my boyfriend on saturday nights is ... fubar ...

    fubar is fun fun fun ...

    fubar's theme on saturday nights is "locker-room" ... and the bar is always crowded on saturday nights ...

    i wonder why?

    well, let's see ...

    they have go-go boys dancing on some sort of a stage ...

    the d.j. is way too much fun, like, the d.j. tells the people to take off their shirts and they get free drinks ...

    sometimes, the d.j. tells the people to take off their pants and they get free drinks ...

    and anyone can dance anywhere inside the bar ...

    and you can see all types of people in there ... with lots of eye candy ...

    i guess thats why fubar is always crowded every saturday night ...

    fubar rocks !!! icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif
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    Apr 14, 2008 10:18 PM GMT
    I want to go where hardly anybody knows my name.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Apr 14, 2008 10:30 PM GMT
    Good food. Good looking and friendly bar staff that pour heavy and are creative. A variety of clientele so everyone feels comfortable coming in and soaking up the atmosphere. Rumplementz! Must serve Rumplementz! Peppermint Schnapps will not do.

    My bf and I were in West Hollywood last weekend and happened by this bar (that I think was called The Annex or something that started with an "A".) It was cute, huge, had cologne in the bathrooms for people to spray on themselves if they choose. Drinks started at around $12, but they served Effen and other good quality liquors as well drinks. I usually tip a buck at other places, but I ended up tipping $3 - 5 for my drinks just because the bartenders, though really busy, were still really helpful. (I'd have tipped more if I had the money to do so.) The plate of nachos we ordered was gi-normous. They also had a bakery in the bar. (They didn't serve Rumpies [Rumplementz] though. icon_cry.gif )

    I may not remember the name, but I remember that it was down the street from Rage.
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    Apr 14, 2008 10:34 PM GMT
    Auryn saidGood food. Good looking and friendly bar staff that pour heavy and are creative. A variety of clientele so everyone feels comfortable coming in and soaking up the atmosphere. Rumplementz! Must serve Rumplementz! Peppermint Schnapps will not do.

    My bf and I were in West Hollywood last weekend and happened by this bar (that I think was called The Annex or something that started with an "A".) It was cute, huge, had cologne in the bathrooms for people to spray on themselves if they choose. Drinks started at around $12, but they served Effen and other good quality liquors as well drinks. I usually tip a buck at other places, but I ended up tipping $3 - 5 for my drinks just because the bartenders, though really busy, were still really helpful. (I'd have tipped more if I had the money to do so.) The plate of nachos we ordered was gi-normous. They also had a bakery in the bar. (They didn't serve Rumpies [Rumplementz] though. icon_cry.gif )

    I may not remember the name, but I remember that it was down the street from Rage.



    i think you are referring to "the abbey" ... am i right?
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    Apr 14, 2008 10:40 PM GMT
    I'd suggest Karaoke, but not your typical choice of songs. Think eclectically. Stock some well known songs by modern artists and bands of reputable note, but throw in some odd stuff. You'd never think anyone would be able to sing any of Janis Joplin's stuff, would you? I went to The Spot last weekend, and they had Garbage's "#1 Crush" from the R+J Movie soundtrack, or another place had some Johnny Cash songs. Careful not to pick too many somber songs.

    You could also think about a Karaoke contest. Cover charge to participate and winner gets a portion of the pot.