Sunday, April 07, 2013
"The Club" near Martinsburg, WVa: a "rural" gay bar 80 miles from DC
When had my “second coming” in the mid 1970s and moved to NYC, I was still curious about how well gay social life could function in the suburbs, where people were supposed to be socialized much more into families. Occasionally, gay bars or clubs appear in smaller towns (such as in Bucks County, PA, where I visited a place in 1995) and can do rather well. I had visited “The Lodge” near Hagerstown MD on Nov. 24 (which see).
Last night, I looked at “The Club” near Martinsburg, W Va, in the northeastern Panhandle of the Mountain State. From the Virginia side, it’s rather treacherous to get there on Rt 9, which crosses the Blue Ridge near Harper’s Ferry at Keys Gap, and then widens as it passes CharlesTown and the racetrack (not to be confused with Charleston), and then moves on to Martinsburg, where the business split-off from the superhighway becomes confusing. You pass a concrete plant that looks like a spaceship at night, turn up into the town itself, and then get on US 11, and have to drive a dark two-lane road several more miles to the Club “on the Right” (and I don’t mean wearing your keys). The website for the place is here.
Inside there is an informal bar, a small leather rack, with a moderate-sized dance floor off to the right, leading to an outdoor bar which has plenty of space and more room for dancing (too chilly last night, but people went out their to – guess what – smoke). There is a pool gallery downstairs, and it seemed as though smoking as permitted.
The crowd was moderate, the parking lot full. The dancing was not as intimate as in DC. The music seemed to come from around the 2000 period. One of the musical numbers was “One More Time” by Daft Punk. I was sold by someone that the club had been open only for about six weeks.
I have a bizarre memory of Martinsburg, from the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2003, when I drove through the town and then was going to Shepherdstown. I stopped at a chain restaurant – I think a Bob Evans – for lunch, and saw a particularly attractive young man walking through the parking lot. I went in to sit at the counter and overheard the staff talking about how that person (apparently) had just been fired as a waiter because “his movements were too slow.” A warning from the world of the proles.