Waterloo’s first LGBTQ bar opening
Coming soon to uptown, The Order hopes to promote acceptance of all genders and sexualities
This month, members of the LGBTQ community will have a new spot to visit with the opening of Waterloo’s first ever gay bar.
Kitchener-Waterloo locals Devon McKenzie, Rami Said and Brett Cullen are opening The Order, a gay bar where both LGBTQ and straight persons can visit and feel comfortable while meeting people.
The idea came to owners Said and McKenzie when they realized Waterloo was in need of a bar dedicated to the building up and support of the LGTBQ community.
“Waterloo does have a very large LGBTQ community which is very underserviced. A lot of our friends are part of the community and have the same problem where there’s just nowhere to go,” Said stated.
The bar’s name is derived from The Order of Chaeronea, an underground society in the late 1800s that provided a means of education on homosexuality and communication.
The goal of the bar is to promote acceptance of all genders and sexualities in K-W.
“The whole idea is to have a nice protected space where no matter who you are or what you believe in you can come in and feel comfortable and not feel you’re being judged or persecuted. Even with our security, our goal is to train them to know their job is not to offend people and to resolve any issues of offending,” Said continued.
The bar, located in uptown Waterloo, will try to attract university students as well as an older crowd by having theme nights with different atmospheres to suit certain groups.
In terms of hiring, Said explained they are open to anyone but have a focus on the LGBTQ population because they are an underemployed demographic.
The general reaction to the opening has been completely positive with a lot of support from surrounding bars and venues, according to Said.
“Waterloo has a very large gay community in terms of our population. We have a very accepting community as well. Everybody is very supportive and other bars are already talking about throwing events together to kind of build up the community,” he said.
As Waterloo’s first gay bar, they are working in association with Spectrum, Waterloo’s LGBTQ and rainbow community space, in hopes of creating a place that gives LGBTQ persons a feeling of belonging.
Christian Paron, a Wilfrid Laurier University student and member of the LGBTQ community, was shocked to hear Waterloo did not already have a bar that caters to the LGBTQ community.
“Before this, meeting someone else who was gay was just a matter of chance when it was actually face-to-face. Now there will be a place where, should someone want to, gays can go to socialize with each other,” said Paron.
The opening of the bar is about joining the community of LGBTQ with the rest of the population and strengthening the ties between the two.
“Us opening has opened up a lot of conversation that hasn’t been opened up before and a lot of the responses have been positive so it’s a great thing to see,” Said concluded.
They have yet to release an official opening date, but according to their Facebook page they are nearly ready.