“The rumour is untrue, we’re not turning it into a straight reggae bar” says Siobhan Conmy, one of the Front Lounge’s new owners
Siobhan Conmy and Cristina Llarena, the two new owners of The Front Lounge contacted us to quell rumours that the stalwart LGBT venue would be becoming a straight reggae bar.
Instead, the venue which is being renamed Street 66 will capitalise on its current LGBT following by including performances and DJ sets from drag queens as well as a revamped area at the back which is being dubbed the “Disco Lounge”.
“The bar isn’t closing at all, really, we’re doing the renovations during the day, and opening in the evenings, but the soft launch is on Thursday, and then Friday and Saturday we have different events with DJ’s and drag queens,” Conmy said.
Conmy explained that there have been some issues with noise complaints on the Parliament St entrance, which is why they’ve decided to split the venue into a bar and a disco area.
“We’ve split the place into two distinct areas,” she said.
“There are a lot of issues with noise and the neighbours, so we decided in order to run our business the way we wanted to, we needed to split it into a bar and a more disco area at the back.
“The main areas of complaint from neighbours is the front of the building and the middle, but not the back.”
Rumour Has It
Rumours of The Front Lounge’s revamp circulated a couple of weeks ago, after a one of The Front Lounge’s staff members posted to social media foreshadowing the change.
In a public Facebook post, they declared that The Front Lounge “will no longer exist the way as it was for the last decades.”
Also at this time a Facebook page for Street 66 was found online using the same address as The Front Lounge indicating a launch date of December 8 for the new venue.
Now, however, Siobhan Conmy was happy to dispel the word on the street.
“We want to add more life to the place and make it more exciting. The rumour is untrue, we’re not turning it into a straight reggae bar,” Conmy confirmed.
“There will be a live music element, but it’s not going to be every night of the week, or every weekend – it will be occasional. Nothing that’s going to take over the whole place.”
“We want to add a little bit of colour to the place, otherwise we’re not changing or segregating the bar. We’re making it a fun place to go.”
A New Age
The new owners of The Front Lounge highlighted the under-utilised back area of the venue as something they hoped to capitalise on.
“We’ve been in and out of the bar for six months and we saw that the back end of the bar wasn’t really utilised,” Conmy said.
“It looks more like a hotel foyer, and only people who were used to the bar really went there – it got no passing trade. We’re making it more inviting, and adding our own touches.”
“Our background is in managing bars, but we also organise a lot of music events.
The arty, upcycled feel of the front bar is influenced by this, and the back bar will be more like a disco lounge area.
We’re bringing it into the 21st century, basically, giving people a good choice of craft beers, going with the trends in Dublin at the moment.”
The new owners are keen to stress that they are welcoming the LGBT community, with drag queens helping to launch the new venue this weekend.
“We’ve a drag show with Bunny on Friday night, and Pixie Woo is DJ’ing for both our launch nights.
“Every couple of weeks we’re going to have surprise drag shows. We’re very interested in working with the LGBT community, so we’ll be organising different events around that.
“We’ve been talking to people who come to the bar, listening to what they want.”
Replying to a concerned patron’s Facebook post, Street 66 declared that they would keep the rainbow flag from outside The Front Lounge.
“We’ll hang the flag at the back and the name will eventually change to Disco Lounge,” the comment reads.
With new management generating a renewed interest in providing an inclusive and exciting space for our community, we wish Siobhan Conmy and Cristina Llarena the very best of luck in their new venture.
Goodbye Front Lounge, hello Street 66!
© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.