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Trade Opens Up on 14th Street Underneath Black Whiskey

by Prince Of Petworth December 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm 18 Comments

1410 14th Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for passing on from MetroWeekly:

“Billed as a “gay dive bar,” Trade marks the third concurrently open bar for the successful trio, whose local nightlife properties include Town Danceboutique and Number Nine.”

Trade opened last week and wrote on their Facebook page:

“Wow. Thank you to everyone who has come out to see us in these first few days. The bar looks best with all of your faces in it. We can’t wait to show you everything we have in store for you.

We’re back again tonight and every night until 10 PM with our HUGE Happy Hour, HUGE boozier drinks at our smaller prices and just $4 for all beer and wine.” target


  • Grant Circle

    I walked by this place yesterday at about 4:00 p.m. and it was packed!

  • spookiness

    If you bill yourself as a dive bar, you’re probably not really a dive bar.

    • reality

      Agreed, although I’m anxious to check this place out.

    • I would argue that as long as you’re priced like a dive bar people will be more forgiving that you don’t have 40 year old grease and lager stains still visible. And it seems like they’re at least getting that part right.

  • AsAMother

    Just a reminder for the straight community when it comes to going to gay bars, since the rules of decorum and general respect seem to have been completely forgotten when it comes to straight people at Nellie’s, the gay sports bar on U Street. Some people, gay and straight alike, might argue that the need for gay bars doesn’t matter anymore. I’d point to the continuous string of violent crimes against the queer community, in this city alone. There was that gay couple a few weeks back who were beaten on the metro. A week and a half ago at 14th and U, I witnessed myself a crowd of people shouting at and verbally harassing a married gay couple simply for holding hands. So please keep these tips in mind when you and your fellow straight friends want to descend en masse to Trade, or any other gay bar.

    “There are the ones who give straight women in gay bars a bad name. They’re usually single, and they’re always angling for center stage. It’s like they’re secretly hoping to lure the one straight guy who might be there on the same night, or perhaps luck out and succeed at “turning” one of us.”
    “”Ladies first” does not apply here, so wait your turn. . . . Don’t push your way to the bar wearing a defiant expression of entitlement.”
    “Straight women are most adorable in gay bars one, maybe two, at a time”

    “Gay bars are the one space that an LGBTQ person can enter without scanning the crowd for potential trouble.”
    “Since queers (and especially lesbians) have so few spaces to themselves, Thomas asked her straight viewers to consider whether they couldn’t find another place to drink and dance—even if they happen to enjoy the vibe of certain gay establishments.”
    “And it’s not about straight people showing up in gay bars in general. It’s about straight people behaving badly in gay bars, arriving in balance-tipping throngs and turning pseudo-sex clubs into silly dance halls, drag shows into disrespectful free-for-alls, and quiet lounges into scream-filled shot dispensaries.”

    “What I can’t stand though is “that one straight girl” (and there’s always one) in a gay or queer space who not only demands attention but also conveys that you and I and everyone else within a 20 foot-radius have all been cast for her personal Sex-in-the-City-Will-&-Grace-Gay-Best-Friend bullshit fantasy.”
    “No, I think if I really dissect this “straight girl in a gay bar” issue, the problem doesn’t revolve around a person’s gender or sexual preference as much as it does her (and his) sense of entitlement, the “dance for me monkey” attitude or “I love you gays” declaration that is just as counterproductive and homogenizing as “all straight girls in gay bars are obnoxious.””

    “DON’T ever, under any circumstances, tell anyone that it’s a shame they’re gay”
    “DON’T immediately get overfamiliar”
    “DO expect to wait a long time at the bar”

    “Generally speaking, you are perfectly welcome in our bars, as long as you keep in mind that they are spaces that are not intended to cater to you – if you think that’s unfair, then go cry about it ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD, since that’s the space that DOES cater to you, pretty much exclusively. You know that sense of discomfort and alienation that you sometimes feel in our bars? That’s how we feel in virtually every social space we go to, so please do not begrudge us this one public place on Earth where we can pay for the “privilege” to hit on, dance with, and make out with people we actually find attractive without watching our backs.”

    “Straight people don’t come to gay bars because they want to hate on gay people. They come because as the empowered majority, they feel entitled to access every space in the world.”
    “I’m gay. I go through life accepting that as a minority, I will spend most of my time in majority (straight) dominated spaces. The movies I watch, music I listen to, and books I read overwhelmingly focus on straight relationships. I’m often needled by pangs of overwhelming “otherness.””

    You might read some of these quotes or articles and think, “Well, that’s not me. I’m always respectful when I go to gay bars.” And that’s great, we appreciate you for that. But maybe your friend Becky or Jenn aren’t so respectful, so maybe when you want to go out with the girls, perhaps you should consider going somewhere else.

    • Euclid

      Ummm, whatever you say Cokey Roberts.

    • Anon

      Good thing my name isn’t Becky or Jenn so clearly you’re not talking to me. Otherwise you’d be casting judgment on a large segment of the population because of an experience that you may have had with one or two people from that group. That doesn’t strike me as fair

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Not really a rare occurrence. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a gay bar and a straight bachelorette comes in. I just think it’s bizarre–choosing to spend your bachelorette amongst a bunch of gay men who have no interest in you? And yeah they’re generally not the most well-behaved group of women.

        • wdc

          I’ve always enjoyed my time at gay bars precisely because no one is “interested” in me. By which I assume you mean, wants to have sex with me. I have found plenty of people interested in *talking* to me.

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            Not saying interested in as in sex at all. For any regular night out I would agree. This is why I like lesbian and gay bars because I don’t want to be hit on by men. But for a bachelorette? I guess the straight bachelorettes I’ve been on have been different–we generally talk to the guys, they buy shots for the bride, etc.

        • Badlands

          I think the annoyance was particularly heightened when gays were prevented from marrying. It was a bit of a throw it in your face deal. But in 20 years of being out and going to gay bars, I’ve maybe seen 3 or 4 bachelorette parties ever and always at a drag show, never just rolling into Cobalt on a Saturday night, although I have no doubt it happened over the years.

          But we can all get married now. Time to give up the ghost.

        • Krampus

          Makes a lot of sense to me. A place with a good party atmosphere where they won’t be hit on by creepy dudes all night = gay bar.

    • Anonymous

      That is some quality mansplaining right there. Good job

    • ke

      I hear what you’re saying about continued violence against the LGBTQ community, but broad stroke criticism of straight people – especially the folks who would be interested in coming to a gay bar and are ostensibly allies – is incredibly short sighted.

      I’m a gay married lady who’s been out for…quite some time. I remember the days of gay bars with blacked out windows, and people being afraid of being seen entering or leaving by coworkers or neighbors. The fact that straight people can now enjoy the vibe of a gay bar is a positive move for society. You are bound to have obnoxious people in bars, no matter their sexual orientation. But it’s really unfair and unfortunate to try to make straight people feel badly about going to gay bars.

      • Badlands

        I agree with you. The rant above is…a bit much to be honest. But I think the general request to remember that as a straight person in a gay bar, you’re entering a place that has been seen by many as a refuge, a safe place, is something that does need to be said. Gay people should not feel the need to put on a show for straight people in their own safe spaces as they feel they often have to in every day society. A lot of that has dramatically and rapidly changed, but people should remember, there are a lot fo gay people who are alive and who are out and about at gay bars who remember that it was not so long ago that a gay bar was more than just a watering hole for many.

        But I absolutely agree we should not make straight people, especially women, feel unwelcome there. My female friends as a young gay man coming out were a lifeline for me. I wouldn’t want some other young gay to feel his girl friends were unwelcome with him in a gay bar.

        Basically, just do not treat us like we are zoo animals on display. Respect physical boundaries and don’t make us spend our drinking time explaining things to you that aren’t really your business. You’d be surprised the ridiculous things straight people entering a gay bar for the first time ask people. In return, hopefully we will welcome you and gladly accept your offer to buy us a drink. Just be sure to tip the bartenders.

      • Badlands

        Oh and if you’re in a group of people, none of whom are gay, perhaps find another place to entertain yourselves. No one is saying you need a gay escort, but honestly when a gay bar becomes overrun with straight people, it changes what the bar is. Understand that while gay people may not seem like an oppressed minority to you anymore, they are and there are few places where gay people can congregate with the expectation that those around them are also gay these days. Don’t take that away from us, please. And it does happen. Nellie’s is nothing like it was a few years ago.

  • redraiderdc

    They did get a little flack for getting billed as “DC’s first dive gay bar”, which is entirely untrue. Larry’s and Fireplace still exist and some of us were here long enough to remember Mr. P’s and Omega.

    More importantly though, a gay bar opened in DC in 2015. The concept of a “gay bar” is one that is becoming increasingly outdated with the assimilation we all fought for, so I think this is still a great thing. It may be just dark and “dingy” enough to keep the Beckies away now that we’ve lost Nellie’s to them. Beckies being our number one national crisis.

    I went the other day, and I liked it. There is great potential and I’m sure it is going to evolve into something pretty cool. People are complaining about how dark the lighting is, I don’t mind it. I was more offended by the lack of bar space and the external communal bathroom sink. The place is fairly long, and it is a shame they didn’t expand or re-situate the bar. There are no dedicated drink wells so you have to fight clumps of dudes standing there chatting. All par for the course and I’ll definitely be back again. Looking forward to checking out what they do with their dance area and when you can bring drinks out on the back patio.

    I’m hoping for the best for them!

  • Badlands

    I know a lot of DC gays have bemoaned the changes at Nellies in terms of patrons – going from almost exclusively gay to now essentially being an overflow bar for Brixton and what not. I too mourn in some ways the days where gay bars were just that – gay. We had a place to go and be relaxed and free to be ourselves with the occasional onslaught of straight girls who tell us how pretty we are and how well we dress (at least in our own imaginations this all happened). That has certainly changed a great deal. Younger gays feel less compelled to isolate themselves to gay bars. That’s overall a good thing. It means society has progressed to where we feel comfortable going to mostly straight bars and being ourselves.

    What is concerning to me is this recent uptick in misogynistic rhetoric by gay men against women in gay bars. There are a few notorious gay bars on 17th street that are terribly unwelcoming to women. What is funny is it tends to be the older gays who remember when gay bars were gay bars. Yet we are the same generation that found solace in our female friends who defended us, supported us, and helped us get through the process of coming out. I wish we’d be a bit more respectful. Stop calling them Beckies and Jennifers. It’s gross. And childish.

    Rant over. I’m happy another gay bar opened up. I’ll definitely check it out and be sure to be pleasant and polite to any wayward women who find their way in.


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