Saturday, September 02, 2006

Worst Fears Confirmed: BeBar is GAY!

We stopped by BeBar on its opening night (our invitation to the VIP pre-opening on Thursday night must have gotten lost in the e-mail). I can report that the fear-mongers were right about one thing: It is indeed a gay bar.

The clientele: A very high twink quotient—kinda JR’s East. Probably 90% of the crowd were in their twenties or early thirties; we probably raised the median age by at least five years when we walked in the door. Almost totally male—a few women were interspersed about, looking a little nervous. Overwhelmingly white—I’d say 95%.

Bartending: The bartenders were young, handsome, and pretty frazzled. I elbowed my way up to the bar and after five or ten minutes managed to make eye contact with one of them and ordered a classic martini for me and a beer for my partner. The bartender said that the olives “hadn’t been delivered.” I said, okay, how about a twist or an onion. No dice for that either. [Comment: There’s a 24-hour Giant across the street, for cryin’ out loud. They sell olives.] The beer choice was pretty minimal—had to settle for a Bud; which seems pretty lame. The tariff was $13, which, amazingly, is fairly standard these days. From what I could see, BeBar seems to specialize in sweet drinks the color of kiddie watertoys that are served in martini glasses.

Décor: Eclectic self-conscious hip. The place is a long, fairly narrow space with a bar that extends along most of one side. There’s a long banquette with lots of cushions along the opposite wall, with small tables (in ironic styles) in front and a few chairs and stools that probably came from Design Within Reach—you know, the Phillippe Starke “Ghost” Louis XVI armchair, acrylic stools, etc. On the tables, there were large flower bouquets in big vases with doomed live goldfish swimming around in them. There’s a set of some kind of antlers on one wall and enigmatic, ironic cartoons are projected on the wall above the banquette. On the ceiling, there are translucent acrylic panels covering colored lights that run the length of the space. A raised section at the rear is for a dance floor, but no one was dancing while we here there. Pulsating techno music makes conversation difficult, but most of the guys just seemed to be checking out each other rather than talking anyway.

Overall: We’re certainly not the target demographic, but BeBar is a pretty classy addition to the neighborhood, and it will bring some life to an area that has been mostly deserted after dark. So wilkommen, bienvenu, welcome!

Well, the dogs needed walking, so we finished our drinks and left about 11:30. No protesters had gathered (of course, it was pouring rain), and the sky had not fallen.


At 9/02/2006 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was wondering how opening night went and we so much appreciate the honest review. sounds like we didnt miss much. but then again i'm an old prune.

At 9/02/2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Sooo should there be a sign "No one over 35 allowed" over the door?
The BeBar website got negative points in my book when the directions to it seemed more aimed at folks in VA and Maryland than DC. I found it absolutly curious that they's mention Amtrak in the directions. Don't get me wrong, I love Amtrak, but I wouldn't use it for a night out. The driving directions for the VA & MD folks (because if you live in DC you must take metro, no driving directions for you!) say nothing about parking. They don't address parking, to an suburban audience that for the most part can't seem to figure out parallel parking*. Of course it would help to semi-ignore the suburbanites and focus on the residents of Shaw.

*Observation of my friends from VA & MD who just don't have that street parking thing down.

At 9/03/2006 3:15 AM, Blogger richard said...

yes, the website has all these gay chamber of commerce type directions and then a lie saying that there's plenty of parking. where might the parking be? on church property? Giant parking lot? naylor court, behind the club?

At 9/03/2006 11:03 AM, Anonymous Sam said...

Thanks for the review. Not the type of place I envisioned -- was thinking more of a neighborhood bar -- but stil I hop they do well.

At 9/04/2006 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that maybe the happy hours might be a more mixed(age)and maybe more local crowd...We'll see.

At 9/05/2006 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Halo East. The checker handed our IDs back aghast if handling it would give him wrinkles (it will if he lives long enough). The owner seemed to have no difficulty raking in the five dollar cover charge, however. Age renders you invisible to the bartender. I gave up trying to order a drink. Anyway, the childish blue martinis looked as sophisticated as Jello shooters. The uncomfortably loud and predictable Black disco music was no better road construction jack hammers. I guess that was to let the Bridge and Tunnel crowd feel edgy for the night. Big Daddy's interior design critique is on cue. I'll stick to venues where I can talk to people and socialize, even though BeBar is only two blocks from my house. Yes, very disappointing. rm

At 9/05/2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too went to opening with VIP cred too boot and got nowhere. But then again, I am female, straight and I live in the 'hood. Sorry to say, not very impressed with the vibe of the place. The line was a block long and everyone in it was from the burbs. Just what we need... more drunk and annoying b&t crowd. BLAH, BLAH..BORING!! PREDICTABLE!!!

I sure hope you don't ruin it for others to get the liquer licenses.

At 9/06/2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous blair said...

I thought VIP meant one got special treatment or something that might have allowed one to bypass the queue around the block LOL! i didn't feel very special, but it was an interesting and unique experience blending in with the common folk. I hope they use their brand to sponsor neighborhood events that show they can reach out to the community despite the resistance they've been shown.


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