Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yes, Baby. there exist gay bars in Virginia


Yes, gay bars are alive, maybe not always well, in Virginia, the Old Dominion, the (ironic) mother of presidents.  I haven’t shown or depicted any of them that I can remember, except for Freddy’s Beach Bar in Arlington, conveniently near the Pentagon in Crystal City. (Yes, a great Sunday brunch).

Remember, Virginia has a long history as a dry state (well before Prohibition), and didn’t allow liquor by the drink to be sold in bars until 1968.  (I was stationed at Fort Eustis, in Newport News, VA, at the time, and it was a big deal.)

Virginia also has an archaic law forbidding the sale of alcohol to a known homosexual.  I’m not sure if it’s been officially repealed (since Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 would have invalidated its “crimes against nature” law). There was no way, of course, that it could ever have been enforced in a manner consistent with due process.

Back in the 70s, the best known gay bar in Richmond was the Dial Tone.  Now, there are a few listed in gay cities.  I passed by Godfrey’s downtown yesterday on Grace St., didn’t see it open.  There have been a couple on the trendy, funky “uptown” section of Cary Street, beyond “Boulevard” (I think they were Lucy’s and Babe’s).  You can never find a place to park in the area.

In Norfolk and Virginia Beach there are a few, such as the Garage, in downtown Norfolk, on Granby St. 

You expect it, with all the sailors.  But the city itself (which at one time was Virginia’s largest) is flat, sprawling, low-rise, and for my money rather unattractive.  It has the only free tunnel access that I’m aware of (no, you don’t need EZ-pass to drive the long bridge-tunnel on I-64, and Friday a man had a flat inside the tunnel).

I didn't find any gay bars or restaurants listed for Williamsburg.  But given the progress on the William and Mary campus since the late 1980s (with the group William and Mary GALA -- see Oct. 23, 2011), it would seem that thew support could be there. 

There’s a link on Virginia’s liquor laws, here

Also, below, note the  historic Byrd Theater on Cary St, Richmond (Nov., 2010);

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