There have been mixed reactions on community forums to the announcement that Oxford St’s Havana club is hosting a weekly gay night on Thursdays, starting this week.
The venue has had a bad reputation with some in the GLBT community since DCM’s club night moved there from UN in August last year.
The night, called Boy Bar, is being run by local promoter Mike Chamberlain.
Chamberlain spoke to Sydney Star Observer about the thinking behind the night, which he understands is controversial.
“Some people think, due to a number of incidents involving the club, the gay community should boycott the place,” Chamberlain said. “We see this as part of a wider ‘Take back Oxford St’ campaign that seems to be emerging organically and started with Nevermind a few months ago.”
Chamberlain said his dealings with club management have been positive.
“We were surprised how enthusiastic the management at Havana were to have us on board,” he said. “They’re as determined as we are to demonstrate that Havana can be a gay-friendly venue.
“Further, we wanted to do something different and fresh — everything from our choice of music, decor, venue, entertainment — so Havana seemed a great choice in this respect, as it’s been a while since they had any gay nights there.”
Chamberlain also asked the club to change some of the staff from their regular nights.
Havana licensee Ben Cooper told SSO he was aware of his venue’s image problem but said DCM was one of many promoters who used the club and does not feel the perception is justified.
“Having Boy Bar is not an attempt to correct this … The venue entertains many gay and lesbian patrons, and on special occasions, like two Saturdays ago, even offers drag performances,” Cooper said. “We have in the past run gay nights on our Saturday nights.
“We don’t currently trade on Thursdays, other than for occasional functions, so we were very receptive to the idea, and I’m looking forward to the night.”
Cooper previously told SSO he would change security contractors after a security guard was arrested for an earlier assault during a police raid in May.
However, Cooper told us on Sunday that this had not occurred, but he believed this was not an issue as it was the same company that provides security for Nevermind which hosts gay nights on weekends.

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