Wait, What? IChing Restaurant is Now “new Gay Bear Bar” Uproar Lounge

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639 Florida Ave, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending word. IChing (cuisine is Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Japanese) opened up back in Sept. 2014. From their Facebook it looks like they opened around late December/early January:

“DC’s new Gay Bear Bar, Lounge & Restaurant”

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59 Comment

  • See also Woof Den at 1723 Connecticut Ave. Two new bear bars open within days of each other.

  • Bear bar? We’re supposed to know what this means?

    • I think it appeals to a gay crowd into larger men- but I’m sure someone w better knowledge will correct me. A few years ago I think there used to be a bear bar on NY Ave prior to all the construction pushing out some of the old businesses. Tonight walking near this location I noticed the flags and was a little confused thinking there were no gay bars nearby, but glad popville cleared it up!

      • The Eagle moved to 3701 Benning Road NE.

      • I Dont Get It

        That was the DC EAGLE on NY Avenue which was a leather bar although it would have Bear nights. I’m sorry if this is hard to follow but I don’t make the rules.

        • justinbc

          Is a leather bar just a place where everyone wears all leather, or is there some other meaning?

          • Basically yea. Not limited to gay folks, but the Eagle was a gay leather bar.

          • I Dont Get It

            Many wear leather but unless it is a special event most are in jeans and t shirts. Having said that this is based upon my experience ten years or more ago. I haven’t been to the new Eagle since I have no idea where/what this “Benning Road” thing is.

    • Bear= hairy gays guys generally larger, less fit

      • Except of course for the “muscle bear” subcategory of bears, which are often very fit, just hairy. There are also otters, which are skinny and hairy. Otters are not a subcategory, but their own related species. We really should write a book to help others keep track.

    • Per Wikipedia: “In male gay culture, a bear is often a larger, hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.”

      Think Tom Selleck or Sean Connery although the reality is more often Jason Alexander or Kevin Smith unless you are at a Musclebear event..

      There are also subcategories such as Cubs, Daddies, Pocket Bears, Otters, Polar, Chasers, Teddys, Musclebears, Black Bears, Pandas, Silver Bears, Grizzlies and Wolfs. Whew!

  • I only came for their Hiphop events on Friday. The 1920DC folks were using it as a pop-up for a few months. That was a lot of fun. This, I won’t go to.

  • Bears are so 2012. Otters are the new thing.

    • Otters are things

    • I Dont Get It

      Actually Pocket Bears are the latest thing. Please keep up.

      • Shoot, I used to be really hip to the lingo, but after I got straight-married I somehow fell behind. How is a pocket bear different from an otter? Chubbier? Also, what’s the difference between a polar bear and a silver bear?

        • Otters are thin hairy guys. They are definitely not a new thing though … very 2013.

          Pocket Bears are like regular bears (stocky, hairy) but short … like they fit in your pocket like a pocket gay.

          Silver bears and polar bears … I don’t think they are different. I think it’s silver fox … like Anderson Cooper.

  • Funny enough, Bears are one of the snooty-ish, clique-ish gay sub cultures. They rival gay twinks with their attitude so it makes sense they need two bars just for themselves and their followers.

  • I think it speaks to my need for more caffeine that I came here, upset that there would be an uproar about a bear bar opening in DC. Clicking on the link I though, “really, in progressive Washington, people are upset about a bear bar?”

    DOH!

  • justinbc

    The Republicans were right, gay is spreading to the bears now!

  • Really funny reading all the comments from straight people who have no idea what a gay bear bar is (which is understandable). I’ve been to a handful of leather/bear bars in my tenure as a gay man I have to say I was pretty unimpressed with this place when I visited over the weekend. If I had walked in without knowing it was supposed to be a bear bar I would have just guessed it was an Asian restaurant. None of the decor inside suggests that it is a gay bar at all, let alone a bear bar. Looking at the menu it appears they still serve the exact same food as when they were IChing. My guess is that the restaurant was not doing that well and decided to pivot and feed off of the popularity of the nearby gay bars ( mainly Town Danceboutique 1 block away). I’m actually rather offended that the owners think they can just change sign on the outside of their restaurant and make money off of me because they think I’ll just show up to a new “gay bar”. Maybe they will make additional changes to the decor and vibe to make it a more legit bear bar, but for now.. no thanks.

    • I hope it happens before your tenure expires

    • Im a straight woman so I am not even gonna front like I know all about gay subsubculture. But are bears really that unwelcome at a typical gay bar? If a bar opened up that was geared towards straight heavier folks I would find that concerning that there is a need to create separate spaces like that. Is separating out various gay subcultures based on appearances necessary? Not judging but honestly curious.

      • Not sure if it’s unwelcome or more them wanting their own space; as mentioned above bears can be clique-y.
        Appearance and age are the 2 biggest dividers I’ve noticed. There was an article recently covering just this topic & a documentary coming out called no fats no femms.
        No a gay man, but I have many gay make friends and have spent plenty of time in gay spaces including the Eagle a time or 2.

      • They create their spaces, but yeah, in 2016 everyone should be welcome everywhere.

    • Yeah I’m wondering if because Bear Happy Hour at Town on Friday is so popular if this is not just a ploy to tap into that market and make it more than just a one night thing. I’m certainly not opposed to that. I’m not a bear, but Bear Happy Hour is fun. About the only gay event you go to where they’d ever feed you pizza.

      • I know, right? $7 pitchers of beer (which the bears drink str8 out of the pitcher), and free Duccinis, whats not to love (but get there early!) cheapest night out in DC.

      • Right, that’s the point. Bear happy hour became popular, with everyone. Girls, straights, non-bear types. So this is tapping into that clique-y bear need for their own space. Though it sounds like this isn’t much of a space.

    • I guess is the glass is half empty they “change(d) the sign on the outside of their restaurant to make money off” you; if the glass is half full they created an environment for you.
      .
      Devil’s advocacy aside, your assessment may be spot on, I haven’t been to either venue and doubt I ever will. I do have kids so I can relate to being a specific demographic that is viewed by some businesses as a cash machine so I do understand your skepticism.

    • Curious. What decor makes “a more legit bear bar?”

      • I am not going to even pretend to be expert on the interior design of a bear bar, but this place literally put in no effort to change anything. Maybe a portrait of a bear on the wall? I don’t know.. lol

    • No offense intended by this question, but what does gay or bear decor look like? As a straight person, if I were to walk into a gay-decorated bar would I recognize it as such? Would it look like “Birdcage” with Robin Williams? I think that would be a movie cliche, right?

  • I went here over MAL weekend. It was a nice, no-frills, unpretentious gay bar with strong drinks and a great rooftop (that was not open at the time). I saw no indication on the ground floor that it had any affiliation with iChing. They served american-style chicken wings (damn good) and I met who I presumed to be the owner or managing partner and it seemed like a new start-up venture. I think they need to get some PR working, as few people even know it opened.

    The more the merrier!

  • NO PR needed (Uproar). They seem to be developing a great identity without the need to advertise and bring in a mainstream crowd. I’ve gone twice now and loved it. Great food. Great music. Great vibe. Great drinks. No attitude. I’ll go back and I’m hardly a bear (barely an otter).

  • It’s a bear bar cuz bears like to eat (and some work out) – other pretentious skinny gays like to starve for that special weekend (which is basically every weekend)

  • Well that explains all the bearded big dudes rolling around lately.

  • I live in the hood and was a bit disappointed when IChing opened and it was a mix of various different styles (Hot Pot, sushi, thai, etc), and was really hoping they would eventually hone in and focus on one direction. Guess I should have been more specific in that wish…

  • It be cool if they can import bear meat and sell bear dogs … now thats a weird mix of animal kingdom

  • It just reflects gay culture where we whine about “wanting to be included in the mainstream” but then fracture into all these idiotic sub-cultures.

    I’m old enough to remember when it was just G and L — gays and lesbians. Then the Bis wanted in (which is moronic … Show me one example where anyone was ever bi-bashed). Then the Trannies (even though that’s not a sexual orientation). GLBT.

    Then the lesbians complained because the men were hogging the first letter and so we had to change to LGBT so their panties didn’t get in a wad.

    Now we have to add a Q for “queer” for whatever the fuck that is, and a plus sign and whatever other hyper politically correct crap comes along.

    Pretty soon there will be a bar just for Inuit Lesbian Albino hermafroditic Quakers.

    I’m done with it.

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