If you are a lesbian who has lived in Portland during the last 15 years, chances are good that you have checked out a bar called The Egyptian Room, commonly known as the E Room.
It’s a dark labyrinth of a bar, with a room for karaoke, a room for dancing, a room for video poker and pool, a room for special events and a full service bar in every room. There are big bull dyke bouncers at the door and snarky, aloof bartenders serving drinks. Attitude runs rampant at the E Room.
Well, I should say that attitude ran rampant at the E Room. It closed a month or two ago, leaving the Portland lesbo crowd with one less watering hole. It has been transformed into something called “Weird Bar.” Apparently the owners decided that the lesbian crowd could not sustain them any longer and wanted to open it up to all ‘weird’ walks of life. I won’t bore you with the details of the fallout that caused. Suffice it to say that many lesbians are looking for a new place to drink.
I was never a fan of the E Room and only went there on rare occasions. Too much of the aforementioned attitude. Too many youngsters and their dramas. Too dark and stinky and… sticky.
Last weekend T and I took a chance on a gay bar that is right around the corner from the house. It is decidedly male. I’ve been in there a couple of time over the years, but the service and attitude were very hostile to women and who needs that? But, it was Saturday night and we wanted to go somewhere quiet and have a drink and hold hands. We had walked to a local restaurant and wanted to continue our evening on foot and not have to drive or take the bus downtown.
We went in to Joq’s and the first thing I noticed was that it was a lot cleaner and had undergone a makeover. We were greeted warmly by the bartender and even though we were the only women in there we didn’t feel awkward at all. The guys weren’t unfriendly but left us alone. Well, all except the one straight guy in the place. He said hello, which I responded to, but then he wanted to challenge us to a game of pool, which we were not interested in playing. After I turned my back towards him he shut up. For a while. A bit later a couple of younger guys came in and were sitting near us. Mr Irritating Straight Man said hello to them and then asked them if they wanted to play pool. They declined. Then he said, “You’re weenies. You’re just a couple of weenies. Weenie, weenie, weenie.” The bartender was in the back and didn’t hear any of that, but we heard it and my brave and beautiful girlfriend called him on it. She looked over at him and said, “That’s not a nice thing to say. You need to stop.” When he started to argue with her, she said, “Just leave them alone. They don’t want to play pool with you. And don’t call anyone names, it’s not nice.” What a champion! She made a couple of friends that night.