Two new venues aimed outside the drinking-barn mould officially opened at the weekend -” the Beresford Hotel on Bourke St and Hush Lounge in Canberra, ending the decline of entertainment venues for the gay community.

ACT Government Minister Andrew Barr took a break from campaigning for the territory election this Saturday to attend Hush’s opening night along with his partner Anthony.

Hush manager Richard Allan, who answers to the name Rachel while on duty, said he was trying to create an alternative venue for the gay community that doesn’t require sign language to speak to each other.

The venue, located on Irving St in Philip, was also available for use for other activities specifically for the gay community, he added.

Back in Sydney, a Beresford spokeswoman said the venue was definitely trying to tap into the local gay and lesbian population but in a different way from nearby venues.

It’s also trying to target local fashion and local upmarket professionals, but still remaining open to anyone who’d like to visit, she said.

One would-be patron contacted Sydney Star Observer claiming a group of friends was told they didn’t meet the dress code, despite having just come from a restaurant. They questioned just how gay-friendly the venue was, when there were plenty of young people wearing sneakers inside.

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