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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Name That Gay Bar

Posted by on March 23 at 10:31 AM

Yesterday I Slogged about a chance meeting with the owners of Seattle’s newest gay bar—which hasn’t opened yet, and hasn’t settled on a name. They were torn between PULSE and SUGAR, and I offered to toss up a Slog post and get a little input from the Stranger’s fag-representin’ readership. The results…

Nobody liked Pulse or Sugar. Other suggestions included Shirtlifters, Gaysha, Santorum’s, Pre-func, Poncey, Tweaker’s Corner, Asshammer, Mocambo, Rehab, Cockpit, and Tim Eyman’s.

But most people seemed to like a suggestion that David S. and I came up with almost simultaneously: Fagbar.

So Fagbar it is—yes, new bar owners, this is binding arbitration—unless we can come up with something better.

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What do we win?

Our pick of the first night's fags, of course.

Fagbar? That's so 90's New York (which would mean it's just about time for it to be stylish in Seattle)

I like Santorum's. But I also like the abandoned Safeway on Broadway, so what do I know?

and at least it's better than Pulse or Sugar. Yuck

There was a bar in SF called Dykebar in the 90s...

My second choice would be Shirtlifters. It's so 1890s.

I would be all for a gay bar called shirtlifters if we could get a lesbian bar named bustlebusters (in keeping with the 1890's motif.) They could be across the street from each other, and the help could wear period costumes. Sort of a mini gay Disney with booze.

OK. I'll go take my meds now and leave you folks alone.

I still don't know, I like fagbar, but it doesn't say "dance club" to me. More like, dark, slightly seedy, dive bar, with pool tables and drunken one night stands. Kinda like "Bar" in the East Village.
Have they indicated the vibe or style they are going for? The name should match the "theme". White decor and peppy pop remixes=Sugar, for example.

Thawing Frozen Dynamite Over Warm Mule Manure...I know that it may be a little wordy but regulars will be sure to shorten or nickname it...second choice is Colonica...fusing two of my favorite things

Colonica...fusing two of my favorite things

... colon harmonica?

I know "shirtlifter" sounds 1890s, but I think the phrase originated with Barry McKenzie, a character in a late-60s comic strip written by Barry Humphries (who is appearing this week at the Moore in his role of Dame Edna Everage). In the strip and in the two Barry McKenzie movies (directed by Bruce Bereford, but only for the strong of stomach) Humphries introduced all sorts of ridiculous slang terms, shirtlifter, chunder, technicolour yawn, etc.

There's a Canadian techno dude who goes by the name Shirtlifter.
I just love that word. But alas I am not gay (hangs head in shame) so my suggestion may not have weight here.

What exactly is a "shirtlifter" in the context suggested?

Did anyone suggest bringing back that hotspot of the 90's: SPAGS

Sugar only works for me if it's said by a big-busted, big-hipped, big-haired sassy black woman who pronouces it "shu-gah!" Now, doesn't THAT sound like a fun place to hang out and dish and dance!?

I say: Cocaine Hut. Or: Around the Corner from Basic Plumbing

Yes, let's bring back SPAGS!

I gotta agree that Fagbar, while enticing, doesn't seem like a place to go dancing. It's sort of like The Cock in New York, which has a sex-postive novelty yet grimy comfort, but is a bar, not a dance club.

I stand by my first suggestion: Plush.

Please call it The Blue Oyster.

"Shirtlifter" is derogatory slang for "homosexual", derived from the notion that you got to (or just want to) lift that shirt up to get at the good stuff underneath. The fact that the best stuff is under the pants, not the shirt, is just part of what makes it funny. It's possible that the origin is sufficiently far back in history that the shirts referred to were long enough to require lifting for access to the anus, but I don't know if it is.

It's also 19th Century—british. Shirts were longer then.

I kinda like the irony of "Tim Eyman's" but then again I think we should all just stop saying his name because you know he is a whore about hearing his name as much as possible. We could call it "Ellen Craswell's".

Do you have a reference, Dan? I'm not disputing you, just eager to track down a mystery.

Funny about the origins of "shirtlifter."

What it SHOULD refer to is something more modern: The guys in gay bars who aren't content to just look you over, but also want to lift your shirt and check for a six-pack before proceeding further. I've had people try to do this to me a bunch in Seattle, and I guess it's meant to be flattering, but I find it incredibly shallow and annoying.

Santorum's Place?

Fagbar sounds like German for gay, faggy (adj.), by analogy with wunderbar. Ja Dieter, du bist wirklich fagbar.


ooo, Wunderbar!

But only the german way,


I really like "Santorum's" as a name, but it also seems to suggest bar more than dance club.  Like Fnarf, tho, I'm not gay, so what do I know?

(answer: not much)

"Shirtlifter" is very 1890s if you consider 1960s Australia to be very 1890s. According to the OED (available online using your Seattle Public Library card), "shirtlifter" is Australian slang for homosexual, with these cites:

1966 BAKER Austral. Lang. (ed. 2) x. 216 *Shirt lifter, a sodomite. 1974 B. HUMPHRIES in Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Jan. 13 When I first seen them photos of him in his ‘Riverina Rig’ I took him for an out-of-work ballet dancer or some kind of shirtlifter.

What does Macquaries say? 1966 is earlier than my earliest reference. The thing is, much of Aussie slang has origins in convict slang of a much earlier generation, but they didn't leave a lot of written evidence -- especially not about homosexuality. I'd love to ask Humphries that question.

I stand corrected.

If you are going 1890's, might I suggest:

Aye, There's The Rub

It's kind of funny that this straight guy has come up with the best name yet: HARD.

You're welcome.

Obviously, the straight guys are the gayest.

Why is HARD the best suggestion? It seems a little crass and obvious to me. Unlike, of course, Fagbar, which is merely direct.

I'm still for Fagbar.

Fagbar is indeed the best choice so far. But, in honor of the movie of the year, how about Fags in a Bar?

"Why is HARD the best suggestion? It seems a little crass and obvious to me. Unlike, of course, Fagbar, which is merely direct."

HARD is best because gays love teh hardness. Positive associations a-go-go. Crass + obvious = $$$.

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