A new queer event has hit Ottawa’s nightlife scene, transforming what the venue owners call a “straight nightclub” into a gay Monday-night party.
Ilon Tyan, owner of Mansion Nightclub, started the Majestic Mondays event because he says he felt disconnected from the community he used to work with when he was a DJ at Club Edge.
“At Mansion we like to promote style; we like to promote fashion,” he says. “I felt like the gay scene would really appreciate it.”
The venue, however, will be unfamiliar to many in Ottawa’s queer community.
“I feel like there is a bit of hesitance,” Tyan says. “Why is a straight bar doing a gay night? Out of a lot of other bars in Ottawa, we may be seen as more straight because we hold hip-hop events and stuff like that, which can be seen as anti-gay.”
Sapphire Champagne, who hosts Majesty Mondays, says that so far there has been positive feedback from the community. “The audience has been amazing, from students, industry staff, drag queens, local celebrities and everything in between. We are getting a good mix of people who just want a place to call home on a Monday.”
Ottawa drag queen Jade London bartends the event.
“Jade London has come to Mansion in drag on regular nights, too, and it was well received by our customers and staff,” Tyan says, noting the event is held on Mondays to avoid competing with queer nightclubs that host weekend events.
“The challenge is always getting people out,” Champagne says. “Mondays are hard because people don’t necessarily think of Mondays as fun. We are going to change that.”
Champagne says that there is a Best Chest contest for men and women every week, in addition to drag performances and guest bartenders.