Gay Bars Serve Up Democracy with a Side of Naughty

Written by | The Lens

Let’s not mince words: the year 2020 can cram it with hot sauce. We are SO over the pandemic and the bitter politics that have divided us during these past several months. It’s enough to drive us to drink! Unfortunately, our fave bars are closing at an alarming rate.

But two sacred queer spaces recently experienced a patriotic makeover. We’re already standing at attention just thinking about it! Buddy’s Bar in Houston, Texas transformed into a polling place to meet the surging demands of the civic-minded citizens in the hotly contested landscape of Harris County.

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#Vote in the front.🗳️ #Party in the back!!! 🎉

A post shared by BUDDY'S (@buddyshouston) on

Their motto on Election Day was “Vote in the Front, Party in the Back.” So vers; we love it. “We’re all very excited about the whole process,” exclaimed owner Chris Berry in a statement to NBC News. “It’s been wonderful! The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The poll workers are excited. There’s a lot of great energy.”

On their Facebook page, Buddy’s boasted the title of “World’s 1st Presidential Polling Location from a LGBTQ+ Bar.” Wait up, record scratch, hold my beer, argued the beloved Eagle SF.

One of the greatest leather and Levi establishments of all time also rose to the occasion, welcoming San Francisco voters into a decadent den of democracy. “The Eagle has always been a place to bring the community together, so being a polling place is part of our mission,” explained owner Alex Montiel.

Nuzzled suggestively in a prominent, musky crevice of the SoMa neighborhood, The Eagle features décor that is rugged and raw… just like America! On Election Day, the bar defiantly kept their style intact, ushering guests through a labyrinth of industrial flourishes and retro panache. Ballots mingled with bear-scented accoutrements hanging alongside disco ball realness. Clearly, The Eagle was not suffering from electile dysfunction.

As empowering as these gay-bar-turned-polling-places may have been, they underscored the longing that we all share for renewed intimacy. Texas and California represent two of the most thriving, throbbing populations in the U.S., yet the states could not be more divided.

By asserting a commitment to cooperation and representation, both The Eagle and Buddy’s proved that our LGBTQ+ family can lead America out of its partisan idiocy and into a more enlightened tomorrow. We have done it before, and we are poised to do it again.

Cheers— sincerely, the queers.

Photos: Instagram @buddyshouston




Last modified: November 9, 2020