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Council to vote on new gay lounge

Community support sought

A liquor licence request for a proposed new gay lounge in the Davie Village will come before city council early in November, and city councillor Tim Stevenson is urging community members to get behind the application by attending the council meeting to voice their support.

The lounge, to be called simply 1181, is seeking a 60-seat liquor licence for the old Book Warehouse space at 1181 Davie St near Bute St.

Stevenson says he’s met with other councillors and city staff to ensure the application goes forward as quickly as possible in advance of the Nov 19 civic election.

“We have no idea what the makeup of council will be after the election for one thing,” says Stevenson. “Secondly, if we don’t do it now, it will be just that much longer for the applicants to have to wait.

“The election can bring any kind of a makeup of council and I think there’s a very good chance that this licence application will get passed with this council at this time,” he adds.

Stevenson says this licence application is important to queer people because the addition of the new lounge will help to strengthen and diversify the queer community on Davie St.

“[The new lounge] is owned and operated by gay people who want to bring more to the Village,” says Stevenson. “We’re losing ground as it is and we want to maintain the Davie Village as our community’s village. If we don’t get new gay establishments there and keep them, we’re going to lose it.”

David Battersby, one the co-owners of 1181, told Xtra West last month that he wanted to build a queer-friendly place for people who don’t necessarily want to go to a leather bar or a nightclub every time they go out.

“It’s critically important if people want to see something different on the street to get out and support us,” says Battersby.

Stevenson says 1181 will make a fine addition to the queer community along Davie St, but encourages the owners to give back to the community if they’re successful with their application.

“The only way they’ll be supported is if they, in turn, support the community as Little Sister’s does, as the PumpJack does, as the Fountainhead, Numbers and Oasis does,” says Stevenson. “It’s a matter of stepping up to the plate and helping our community thrive.

“It’s tenuous. It doesn’t take much to lose what we’ve got,” he repeats.

Battersby says 1181 will indeed be an active member in the queer community once they get their doors open.

“Oh God for sure,” he says. “We have some big hurdles to get over before we can start to invest any energy in that type of planning, but certainly it’s on our agenda.”

Battersby says he’s delighted with the level of support so far and credits Stevenson with pushing things along.

“We have to credit him quite strongly,” says Battersby. “He’s been very, very supportive and instrumental. He actively had several meetings, and he was always making sure that things were moving along. He didn’t have to do any of that for us.”

The licence application will come before city council on Thu Nov 3 at 2pm.

“Speakers are more than welcome to come and speak,” says Stevenson, “but they have to phone and register with the city clerk’s office to get on the speakers list.”