News (USA)

A beloved historic gay bar is about to spread into a second home

Group of diverse people toasting with beverage, happy friends celebrating and drinking cocktails at restaurant, lgbt social inclusion concept
Photo: Shutterstock

Little Gay Pub, a much-loved and much-posted-about gay club in Washington D.C., is expanding to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the owners — longtime D.C. bartenders Dito Sevilla, Dusty Martinez, and Benjamin Gander — have announced.

Sevilla told The Advocate that the co-owners were thrilled about the move, saying, “We love Philly! We are so excited to have the opportunity to bring our unique brand of not-so-Little Gay Pub, offering a quirky, campy, glamorously gay hospitality experience to an incredibly historic and LGBTQ-friendly city like Philadelphia.”

The Philadelphia location will be at the corner of 13th and Drury Street, near the historic McGillin’s Olde Ale House. It is slotted to open sometime next year, as early as late December but certainly before May, in time for next Pride Month.

The D.C. location is a beloved hotspot for the queer community. The owners say their purpose in running a gay bar is that the LGBTQ+ community is “celebrated, more than just served.” They also told The Philadelphia Inquirer that their bars “harken back to an older age in the community, when the bars were nicer, a little bit more leathery and darker, and the fixtures were better.”

They also want the bar’s environment to lend itself as a daytime gathering place for friends to grab a drink, as well as a nightclub scene.

“We like to think it represents a new frontier in gay bars. In the early days, the gay bar was like a hidden little place,” Sevilla said. “[With our bars,] you can always see inside the bar from the street when you’re walking by with your friends.”

The Little Gay Pub is also a hotspot for celebrities local to D.C. or those just dropping by town. Last fall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) grabbed a drink and took a selfie in one of the pub’s iconic restrooms. Other notable guests have included actors Billy Eichner and Alan Cumming. The Season 9 cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars have also been seen at the pub.

Little Gay Pub is known for its well-lit and funky bathrooms — the bathrooms even have their own Instagram account.

“One of the things we agreed on when we started was that we wanted to have over-the-top bathrooms, and there was really no specific reason,” Sevilla said, “I wish that we could go back and say that we brilliantly thought about it as a marketing strategy, but we just made them crazy and kitschy.”

The owners said they didn’t want to be “interlopers” in Philadelphia, and will keep an apartment in the city so at least one of them is always there.

“We’re just a very friendly bunch of people that have brought greatness to D.C., and we hope to do so in Philadelphia.” Martinez said.

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