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Now, more than a year after Covid began to upend the daily lives of most Americans, the newly engaged duo can instead be found on Zoom hosting trivia contests, happy hours and dance parties for LGBTQ people of all identities through a virtual venue.
The venue, As You Are Bar, has been operating online since February, and Pike, 36, and McDaniel, 39, describe it as a combination of a bar, cafe, community center and club for people over The couple estimate people have attended their virtual events.
Following the success of their virtual venue, the couple plans to open an As You Are Bar physical space in the district by the summer, bucking a decades-old national trend of LGBTQ bars — particularly those catering to lesbians and people of color — closing their doors.
There are now thought to be less than 20 bars catering to queer women across the United States, down from around in the s. This new venture, Pike and McDaniel noted, will be markedly different from traditional queer bars.
The most notable difference, perhaps, is the inclusion of those as young as I think there's something to be said for being newly out, a college student, and having a place to call your own, even into the nightlife hours. Safety and inclusion were priorities for Pike and McDaniel when creating their virtual venue, and they said this will remain a top priority for the physical space, too.
Since announcing their intention to open a physical bar — especially one that prioritizes inclusion and safety — Pike and McDaniel said they have seen a strong community response. She said this project holds a special ificance for her. They said they will use their own experiences in the industry to make the brick-and-mortar bar feel welcoming.
They also plan to actively solicit community input before and after the physical space opens. Kaela Roeder is a journalist in Washington, D. She is a graduate of American University, where she studied journalism and anthropology. IE 11 is not supported.
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