Throughout history, Tuesdays have gotten a bum wrap. Tuesday is considered an unlucky day because of the Tuesday-sacking of Constantinople according to the Greeks. There’s a famous Spanish proverb that states one shouldn’t begin a journey on a Tuesday.
Gays and lesbians are warming up to traveling on Tuesdays, partly due to the warm reception the community has given Tainted Tuesday at Touché in the ByWard Market.
Open since May 2006, the ultra hip bar Touché transforms into a gay-friendly paradise Tuesday nights. With drink specials and friendly staff — they actually fight over who gets to work on Tuesdays — it’s quickly proving that it’s anything but tainted.
“There’s good people, good times, a fresh atmosphere and new faces,” says Shannon Mousseau, 22. “There isn’t enough of this scene in Ottawa. There is no comparison; every other gay club in Ottawa is cliché.”
Imagine contemporary brushed-metal and plastic interiors. Imagine a light-up dance floor. Imagine what are arguably the nicest bathrooms of any bar in Ottawa.
“It makes you feel like you are in a music video,” says Heather Schriver, a 23-year-old patron.
Touché’s bartender/manager/promoter Bara Rek-El-Bakhour (who you may remember as a hottie who graced Capital Xtra’s cover last year) says that the success of Tainted Tuesdays stems from the openness and uniqueness of the bar.
“Touché is a completely different vibe then any other gay club right in Ottawa,” says Rek-El-Bakhour. “Because of our set up you are able to dance, actually lounge and relax or just enjoy the beautiful patio. It is a gay night, but it’s a mixed crowd that feels comfortable with each other. The straight people loving partying with us and we love partying with them.”
And queer club goers are noticeably impressed that a straight bar is opening up its doors to them.
“I’m moved and impressed that a straight bar on Clarence, of all the most popular streets in the ByWard Market, is throwing this when apparently the owners are not gay, but want to increase their cliental and reach out to be the bigger person,” says Jason Trevors, 24, another patron.
“It’s a new addition, but a welcome part of our close knit community,” says Melanie Bachenski, celebrating her 26th birthday at the bar.
Fezial Shah, 26, recently moved to Ottawa from Vancouver and says although our scene may not compare, he finds Tainted Tuesdays an inviting mid-week break.
“Ottawa’s scene is a bit smaller and conservative compared to Vancouver’s scene. It’s nice to have a variety of evenings to go to. It’s Tuesday night, what else do you do on a Tuesday night? It’s an early break during the week.”
With all the success of the Tainted nights, the staff has also chosen to give back. One dollar from each five dollar cover goes to a local queer charity. Last month Touché donated over five hundred dollars to Bruce House, Pride Ottawa, Jer’s Vision and the Aids Committee of Ottawa (ACO).
The ACO hosted a fundraiser at Touché on Tues April 24 that included condom and dildo demonstrations, which proved to be a gigantic success.
“Every condom and every pack of lube was gone by the end of the night,” says Adam Graham, ACO’s Gay Men’s Prevention Coordinator.
With cheap drinks and charitable donations, Tuesdays at Touché seem poised to become more thoughtful than tainted — although that doesn’t have the same ring to it.