The curators of a popular open mic night are launching a new venture located along Washington, DC's 14th Street Corridor.
The Tea: Shaun Mykals and Brandon Burke, curators of open mic night Thursday Bliss, are opening Thurst Lounge, a nightlife venue targeting DC's Black LGBTQ+ community, in December.
- Located at 2204 14th St NW, the former home of sushi restaurant Sakerum, the venue is two levels and features a retractable roof.
The Context: Despite a thriving Black queer population–and being host to one of the nation's largest Black Prides–there are currently no Black LGBTQ-owned bars or nightclubs in Washington, DC.
- Popular haunts like The Fireplace, a Dupont Circle dive bar, are a staple of Black queer nightlife–especially for older generations–but are not Black-owned.
- Another prominent venue, Nellie's Sports Bar, was protested for racism in recent years
The Bigger Picture: Black-owned gay bars across the country took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in some LGBTQ meccas, they've been on the rebound.
- For example, couple and business partners Charles Hughes and Richard Solomon opened two successful Black LGBTQ+ venues in New York City following the pandemic: Club Lambda in Harlem, NY and Lambda Lounge in Brooklyn, NY.
The Latest: Thurst Lounge owners posted a sneak peek into their venue in the video below.