Posts Tagged ‘alternative spokane bar’

Robin Tuttle and gang recently took over the premises and what little business remained at the old Hotteez in the Spokane Valley on Raymond just north or Sprague. In a move that I admired and appreciated, they shut down the operation for 2 days in order to deep clean the place as I am positive had not been done since  the Sea Galley days back in the mid 80’s when Elaine worked there.

We stopped in recently on the way back from the WSU/Arizona game down in Pullman. Not being night owls, we took advantage of being out late to check out what the Valley’s first gay bar might look like in the hours after our bed time.

It was mostly as I would have expected from a gay bar recently opened in the Valley, but there were a few surprises. It was fairly slow and the crowd was not over-crowding but they were getting into the scene more than I was prepared for. By that I mean that while it was not a scene out of the movie Cruising, there was plenty of hot dancing and at least one same-sex couple making out in plain and unavoidable view. To further set the alternative lifestyle mood, a few queens with demeanors of  drama occupied a barstool or two.

I had no problem with all of this since I was in a gay bar where I felt it best to live and let live. I am not a critic of gays or their hangouts, but I did not like being frisked on my way in. I was more surprised by this than anything and I let them know it and Elaine actually refused to allow them to touch her when they attempted to pat her down after she returned from the bathroom and wanted to join me . They refused to let her even enter the bar, where I was waiting with a round, to tell me she was leaving.

Elaine called me as she walked across the parking lot to the Monkey Bar and I joined her as soon as I finished my drink. Ironically, the bouncer who frisked her came over too and I had the opportunity to ask him why they thought they had to frisk their patrons and then tell him why I thought it was a terrible idea.

He told me that since Hollyrock was the first gay bar in the Valley and since they had received a few threats ( which I find dubious), they were doing it to protect their clientele. I told him that was BS and unfortunate for everyone. If somebody wants to blow away someone at a bar they are going to do it just like crazies do when they walk into a McDonald’s in California or  an Air Force base in Texas.

On the one hand, I don’t like it on a personal level because I don’t want to go anywhere besides the airport or courthouse that I have to go through security for weapons. Actually, I don’t like going to either one of those places any more than I have to but sometimes I have to. The Holly Rock is sending the message that it is a dangerous place to go even though they are intending to send the message that they are protecting their patrons. Like I said, if someone wants to start shooting up the place, they’ll just start with the guy who wants to frisk them.

Then on a less personal note but still a bit offending, I take objection to the idea that the Valley would be more dangerous for a gay bar than downtown where the gay bars don’t frisk their clientele. We may be further east, but this is not Aryan Nations territory any more than the Northside is less tolerant because it is closer to the backwoods home of the MLK Parade would-be bomber.

All this being said, I can forgive HollyRock for their paranoia and over-zealous attempt to protect their people from the gay-bashing crazies that they fear populate the Valley. The truth is that they are newbies and have the right to make a few innocent mistakes. The trouble is that they don’t have time to make very many mistakes, innocent or not. Opening a new nightclub, gay or straight, is a brutally unforgiving and risky undertaking.

I believe that while they don’t need the intolerant, they cannot afford to not welcome everyone that is tolerant. Frisking everyone who walks in the door will neither deter a terrible hate crime nor welcome the tolerant non-gay crowd which I believe Holly Rock must have to succeed in the Spokane Valley.  The Valley, compared to downtown is the hinterlands as far as the gay nightclub scene is concerned, not because of backward thinking but because of demographics.

I think Holly Rock’s only chance is to welcome everyone that is either practicing an alternative lifestyle or tolerant of those who are. The gay community alone  is not enough to support them, but even if it were why would you want to discourage more business? There are actually a lot of free-thinking people in the Valley, like everywhere in America, who may not live an alternate lifestyle but they might enjoy having the alternative to go there once in a while for a drink or a dance. The Holly Rock needs them to survive and they need to welcome them, not pat them down.

 Read an earlier blog on Holly Rock