The first hour I spent at the flame was very awesome: tons of queer people, very few straight people, large bar and dance space. It was just great. However, right around midnight this place took on a notably different atmosphere as the straight white college crowd dominated the space. Total bummer. When I go to a gay bar I want to be at minimum surrounded by mostly gay people. A few straight people here and there, accompanied by gay friends, is totally fine, but once huge crowds of straight people start coming in with little to know interest in respecting gay spaces and culture, the space loses its queer openness and community-feel. We're just once again in another straight bar being stared at by straight men who find lesbians "hot" and gay men "an affront to their masculinity," and I can't even imagine how they treat our trans* friends.
Now, many gay bars struggle with keeping their spaces both open and friendly, but also gay. I don't know what the secret is to keeping straight people from dominating gay space, but I know the flame also hasn't figured it out. It's best to go here early in the night and leave before the frat and sorority crews come in and give you looks in the bathroom or openly make fun of the "homos hitting on them" while waiting outside. That was nice to listen to (sigh).
Duluth finally has it's very own gay bar! Â No more driving to Superior of all places!
I have only been here once on a Monday night (I know I know, obviously I need to get out more) BUT, here are the things I noticed that I feel are of note.
Spacious layout, lovely colored lights on the dance floor and large U shaped bar.
There was a seating area with couches and chairs off to one side and a truly odd sculpture of Marilyn. Â My friend and me felt it was too short to be an actual likeness but yet too tall to be a statue... Hmm. Â Anyway.
You do have to go UP a flight of stairs to get here---I hope they have an elevator for those unable to climb stairs.
Overall, my reaction is still, YAY, Duluth has a gaybar!!! Â I'll go back on a busier night and do an update later.