'We are all one big family': Street 66 celebrates its third birthday

Siobhan Conmy, co-owner of Street 66, looks back on the past three years and speaks about the importance of being an open space for the LGBT+ community.

People sitting in Street 66, having a drink and playing with board games.

Street 66 is celebrating its third birthday with an exciting week of fun activities and incredible tunes. From Drag and Draw to Vinyl Thursdays as well as some birthday cake and prosecco, the week long festivities will be epic. 

Originally known as the Front Lounge Bar, the space underwent a renovation in 2016. Though there were some concerns over what direction the new bar would take, Street 66 emerged onto the scene and quickly became a staple in the Dublin LGBT+ community. 

Ahead of the celebrations, one of the bar owners, Siobhan Conmy, looks back on the past three years and gives a sneak peek at what can be expected in the future. 

How did Street 66 come about?

I was the manager in Turks Head and Cris, my business partner, was my assistant manager. So Front Lounge came up for sale and the two of us for a year were like ‘let’s do this sh*t, let’s go for it.’ Basically, we were kind of haggling and stuff for a year and then it just happened on the first of December, 2016.

We had a plan but everything was gradual. It’s exactly what we want now but it’s taken the three years. When we took over, we were refurbishing in the morning time at like six or seven and open up in the evening because we couldn’t afford not to open. So it was nervous, exciting, stressful for the first couple of months. 

Now, much more relaxed. I’m very, very proud of it.

What were some of the biggest changes throughout the three years?

I’m from the middle of nowhere. So I’m from a small country area. You know the local pub where everyone knows everyone and all that kind of stuff. And then Cris is from Barcelona. Both of us like talking and communicating so basically, we’ve become a community bar. 

We do a lot of events with the Gaymers night and markets and Drag and Draw. We like to do community stuff. For me, this is a big community centre. People in the community feel safe here and it’s a free space for them to do events and come up with ideas. We all work together. 

The community gave us a chance so without the community, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We all work together as a big team. We know everyone’s faces. It’s literally like a bar in the country where everyone looks out for you. 

We are all one big family. That’s why we give back because we want to be the space where people feel safe and comfortable. Even though we have equality and everything, we definitely still need a safe place. 

What can people expect from Street 66’s birthday?

We are doing the whole week. So on the Wednesday night, we have Drag and Draw. Thursday night Brian Merriman is doing a table quiz to bring his play over to England. I DJ vinyl here every Thursday and then I invite people from the community if they have a record to play their record. If they don’t want to play it, I’ll play it for them, or if they feel brave enough to play it. They can request online the day before. 

Then Friday night is Pixie. Pixie is like the queen here. Saturday night we have all the DJ’s that have been DJing here for the past year. So we have GerBear, we have Dykes on Decks, we have Pixie, we invited everyone. And then we have free prosecco and we will have a birthday cake. 

What are Street 66’s hopes for 2020?

We have a few more ideas. A few surprises. We are always adding bits and pieces, keeping things fresh. Some of it is spur of the moment, some of it is planned. Our brains are always going with different stuff. So we hope that everybody is still happy coming here. 

We hope to keep things the same and improve a lot of things. And we look forward to being here for many, many, many years. 

Over the past three years, Street 66 has been a space for the LGBT+ community to come together and express themselves. It is thrilling to look back at what they have accomplished in such a short space of time.

Throughout the week, there is something for everyone to get involved in the festivities. For more details, check out Street 66 online as well as their Facebook page.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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