In February, the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada hosted a panel discussion addressing the state of the black LGBTQ community—its history and progress and its hopes and needs for the future.
At the center of the discussion: how to build togetherness, and the factors that have delayed widespread unity. Panel participants and audience members mentioned a shortage of black-oriented LGBTQ groups, their inability to get the word out and general apathy, but another key issue seemed to be a lack of gathering space. Promotions geared toward black community members at mainstream gay nightlife venues haven’t lasted long. One panelist recalled Wednesday nights at Angles, which closed in 2002.
Most would argue one night a week is underserving the black LGBTQ demographic. The Center’s February event marketed its new Black LGBTQ meeting group, which certainly helps, but what might be even more promising is the upcoming addition of Urban Lounge.
While a handful of gay nightspots with the usual go-go boys, drag queen revues and well-drink specials have launched in recent months—and will continue to into October—the new lounge, which aims to open Downtown sometime this fall in Main Street’s Corner Building, seeks to fill a void by catering directly to the black LGBTQ community. Along with a full-service bar with a menu of family-style dishes and adjacent event space, Urban Lounge’s operators say they want to create a true gathering space.
“This market has yet to really be reached,” project manager Nakia Matthews says. “We anticipate the lounge becoming a meeting spot, not just for our target demographic but to the population of Downtown in general.”