Men's Bars, Still Here or Gone?

For those that follow this column, you know I’ve commented several times about the fact that men-only spaces are just about a thing of the past. Well, this last month I was at a fundraiser in St. Louis and we were at JJ’s bar. To my surprise, it was mostly men! (Until about 1:30am when all the straights came out).  
    So while I’m there I look around to figure out WHY.  Why was this place mostly men? After thinking about it and looking around, I think I figured it out. These people supported their bar. I saw couples; I saw singles; I saw older men; I saw younger men; I saw lots of people coming out in support of a primarily men’s-only bar.
    I think that’s the difference between there and here. So many times here and in the KC area, I know lots of couples who just don’t go out. Why? I don’t know. But there in St. Louis it hit me, these people SUPPORTED their bar. They came out (and it was not a major fundraiser or anything special, it was just another night at the bar). And it was lots of couples, singles and some awesome music. The dance floor was packed.
    So I think there are several factors here on why. One, people came out, and two, the ambiance of the bar, and three (a very important fact) was great dance music. The music was fantastic. Just loud enough for the dance floor to jam and not so loud that people in the bar could talk to each other. It was the perfect balance.
    So while we here in Wichita lament the fact that we don’t have a primarily men’s bar, there are men's bars in the region. Right now I only know of two, JJ’s in St. Louis and the Omaha Mining Company in Omaha.  On the coasts, there are a few, but not a lot and most of these are leather bars.
    So, when I hear folks complain about not having a men’s bar, they’re probably going to get an earful. Because if you want something you have to SUPPORT it!! There was an attempt to have a men’s space here, but no one came out on a regular basis to support it, so of course, it’s gone.
    So if you want to go to a men’s-only space, well, it’s not going be an only space anywhere. Because regardless, in this day and age, there is no such thing as a men’s-only or women’s-only space. While the place may be predominately men or women, it won’t be an only men or women.
    So deal with the changes because here in Wichita we are a mixed community and we will continue to have mixed company at any given bar. If you want a primarily specific gender bar, seek them out. They are out there, but just not here in our local area.

28-Feb-18 14

Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.

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