Bear Happy Hour Beginnings
Bear Happy Hour in Washington DC is a term for regular Bear events that have been in many locations and hosted by many organizations since roughly 2000, and arguably before by traditional Bear clubs like Chesapeake Bay Bears (CBB), The District of Columbia Bear Club (DCBC), and internet clubs like Generation-X Bears DC (GenXDC).
DC Eagle (NY Ave) – Chesapeake Bay Bears (CBB)
Monthly CBB “bar nights” held at the DC Eagle on a Sunday afternoon. Involves cheep draft beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, and shenanigans. A few dozen people would attend. Roughly 1995-2000.
DC Eagle (NY Ave) – The District of Columbia Bear Club (DCBC)
Same story. Technically different club, but a lot of the faces were the same. DCBC was more of a city club, while CBB represented the wider Chesapeake Bay area. Monthly DCBC “bar nights” held at the DC Eagle on a Sunday afternoon. Involves cheep draft beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, and shenanigans. A few dozen people would attend. Usually followed the monthly DCBC meeting also at the Eagle. Roughly 1995-2000.
Buffalo Billiards (Dupont) – Generation-X Bears DC (GenXDC)
The “Generation X Bears” movement was an active movement by younger members of the Bear community to create their own space and ways to connect. Naturally, this was mostly through the Internet. The DC group held regular (about quarterly) meetups on Saturday afternoon at Buffalo Billiards, because you didn’t have to be 21 until the evening.
DIK Bar – Dupont Italian Kitchen Bear Happy Hour (2000)
This is the original Friday night Bear Happy Hour.
The first Friday bear happy hour (with deaf happy hour) was hosted at Dupont Italian Kitchen’s upstairs bar (DIK Bar) in roughly 2000 by members of the DC Bear community.
None of DC’s Bear organizers today had anything to to with the creation or management of Bear Happy Hour at DIK
Titan’s Ramrod Woof (2005)
Glenn Mlaker, owner of Titan bar, opened his space above Hamburger Mary’s to different communities. His Friday night Bear happy hour was simply titled “Woof” and was usually followed by a drag show.
Titan Bar, beginning in 2005, is remembered by most as the highlight of DC Bear Happy Hours. It was just an underground night of mixed characters of Bears, some with a decade of activity in the Bear scene, and some brand new. Titan was a simple fun bar with cheap beer and HVAC pipes that would sweat on your head.
There was a video DJ who played almost the same thing every week, but we didn’t care. You were just as likely to meet your next best friend (or trick) in the john as you were at the bar. Titan updated the brand with “Titan’s Ramrod” and started billing Woof as “World Famous” but closed on December 21, 2007 – Titan’s Last Woof
None of DC’s Bear organizers today had anything to to with the creation or management of Bear Happy Hour at Titan.
Cobalt Men’s Happy Hour (2008)
When Titan closed, a smaller group of Bears gathered at Cobalt weekly on Friday for “Men’s Happy Hour” organized by Cobalt at the beginning of 2008. Cobalt continued doing Men’s Happy Hour aka Bear Happy Hour at least as late as Friday, June 26, 2009 according to metroweekly.com, although the pictured crowd wasn’t exactly full of Bears.
None of DC’s Bear organizers today had anything to to with the creation or management of Bear Happy Hour at Cobalt
Bear Nonsense at Jimmy Valentine’s (2008)
Bear Nonsense started doing one-off Bear Happy Hours at Jimmy Valentine’s late in 2008. We did about four of these until we decided to move our planned June 12, 2009 event to support the opening night of Motley Bar.
Motley Bar Motley Bar Bear Crue (2009)
When Motley Bar opened in June 2009. Charger Stone worked as a bartender and convinced the managers to host Friday night as a Bear happy hour. Friday night was billed as Motley Bar Bear Crue. This was a pretty popular night in an overcrowded upstairs bar on 9th Street NW (with DJ Jim Gade). Motley Bar closed abruptly in August 2010.
Town Danceboutique (2010)
When Motley Bar closed in August 2010, Stone – encouraged by the Bear community – contacted Town Danceboutique, which normally wouldn’t be open on Friday until 10:00pm. Town Danceboutique agreed to open early to host the Bear Happy Hour. Stone renamed Motley Bar’s Facebook page to DC Bear Crue and began hosting at Town Danceboutique (with DJ Christian Gerard and DJ Evan Ribiero). DC Bear Crue Bear Happy Hour took over two floors attracting all kind of people in DC’s LGBT community. It was a large happy hour for Washington’s LGBT community.
After seven years and eleven months of bear happy hours at Town Danceboutique, the venue closed in June 2018.
Bear Nonsense Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel (2012)
In May of 2012 Bear Nonsense started Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel as a remedy to Town’s happy hour, which had outgrown the traditional DC Bear community. At first monthly, Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel continued to grow in popularity and quickly began hosting twice a month.
In 2015 Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel began hosting Disco Sunset DJ Sessions as part of happy hour. With rotating DJs, Bears groove into the sunset.
We’ve been dealing with neighborhood sound problems, so we don’t have the DJs as often or as late as we used to, but we are continuing to try to improve this situation.
Bear Happy Hour at Rock & Roll Hotel is the longest-running continuously-operated Bear event going in Washington DC.
DIK Bar – Bear DIK Bar Night (2016)
Since 2016 members of DC’s Bear community have been hosting Bear DIK Bar Night at Dupont Italian Kitchen opposite Bear Nonsense Fridays. Look for their event on the 1st and 3rd Fridays after summer hiatus. Look for them on Facebook at Bear DIK Bar Barnight.
UPROAR Lounge and Restaurant (2018)
With the closing of Town Danceboutique, DC Bear Crue began hosting a Bear happy hour at UPROAR Lounge and Restaurant.
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