Wherever you are, you’re never (too) far from a gay bar. So tune in every week for the inside track on why your local queer venue loves you, and why you should love it right back, as we get the low-down from the people who know best – the owners, the barmen, the DJs and the fabulous performers.
This buzzing bar on Dublin’s Capel St injected a much needed squirt of glitter into the Dublin scene when it opened almost ten years ago. The bar’s proprietor is the one and only Panti Bliss, Ireland’s ‘national fucking treasure’. And if for some reason that name draws a blank, please school yourself here, here and here – thank you very much.
Open seven days a week, Panti aims to please with hot barmen and nights stuffed with drag performances, creative events, music gigs and theatre in the basement and much more.
The crowd is mixed, friendly and very loyal: when the bar’s iconic sign looked like it was going to be removed (for not complying with local regulations, or some such nonsense) punters flooded an online petition with signatures, ensuring the neon beauty takes pride of place on the street front to this day. Now over to The Queen of Ireland herself for more…
What five words would you use to sum up your venue?
Friendly, stylish, fun, relaxed, sexy.
What’s the crowd like?
Friendly. Pretty mixed ‘tribe’-wise. Everyone from bears to hipsters to drags. A little older, so the twinks are under-represented!
Why do people love your venue?
It’s a great stylish space, on a corner with lots of big windows so it’s popular on sunny days and after work. At night it’s lively and friendly. And the staff are hot…
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened while you’ve been working there?
Ha, how long do you have?! There’s a lot to lose from! Eh… How about when P!nk came one quiet night after performing nearby, and sat on the stairs to watch a drag show. Word went out on social media and within minutes hundreds of wildly excited lesbian super-fans descended and a mini-riot erupted outside. Or the time US Vice President Joe Biden asked to visit and I had to say no because it was Pride weekend they wanted to shut down the street for security reasons. Sorry Joe, bad timing.
So many gay venues are closing down – what would you say is the secret to your success?
We’ve built a community around the bar – something you won’t find on Grindr. And we’ve invested time and money in making it a nice space to hang out in, day or night.
Describe your ideal night out
Propping up a bar with a gang of good friends before hitting a dance floor and hitting on boys. Then ending up at some strangers house party with awful music snogging some boy on a sofa in the corner before sneaking away with him without telling my friends I’ve gone.
What events have you got coming up next?
Our first major event of the year will be St Patrick’s Day. All hands on deck!
If you and your venue would like to be featured in Scene and Heard please contact [email protected]