Happy-Hour Hunt

Town and Cobalt lead the pack to inherit Bear Happy Hour

When EFN Lounge/Motley Bar closed its doors Monday, Aug. 16, a Friday fixture – ”Bear Happy Hour” – found itself homeless. But those bears, who filled Motley Bar for possibly the venue’s most successful ongoing event, won’t have to miss a beat. Instead, they’ll have to choose between options.

Taking hold years ago at Titan’s Ramrod at 1337 14th St. NW, the bear crowd was forced to find a new Friday happy-hour venue when that bar shuttered in late 2007. Within a few weeks, that scene re-established itself at Cobalt, along the gay 17th Street strip at 1639 R St. NW.

On Facebook and blogs such as ”DC Bear Scene,” the local bear community has been debating where to go next. The conversation has gotten so intense that one member of the community, Roy ”TheNotriousKub” Alexander, dubbed it ”Bearpocalypse” on Facebook.

But Nicholas ”Pup Charger” Baatz, who ran the Friday happy hour at Motley Bar – and, notably, also worked at Titan – said Wednesday night that he has secured Town Danceboutique, at 2009 8th St. NW, for a new bear happy hour.

”I will be running the bear happy hour, kind of working as an unofficial promoter and working as a bartender,” Baatz says of the new venture, kicking off this Friday, Aug. 20, at 6 p.m.

”The bear community has really given me a home since I came out five years ago,” adds Baatz, explaining his motivation to secure a spot without missing a single Friday. ”The bear community was the most accepting. They really have become my family and I would do anything for them.”

That’s not to say that Baatz and Town are the only ones trying to accommodate the bear community in the wake of EFN’s closing. Cobalt is also opening its doors, inviting the bears to return to their onetime haunt. To sweeten the deal, DJ Jim Gade – a staple during EFN/Motley’s bear happy hours – will be spinning at Cobalt Aug. 20, and Sam Silva, known to many in the bear community, will be bartending, offering his tips to the Food and Friends nonprofit organization.

”It’s definitely sad to see any of the gay bars go out of business – that’s not good for any of us – but it would be nice to see the bears come home,” says Mark Rutstein, general manager of Cobalt, offering drink specials, an adjacent restaurant (Level One) and a promise that his venue’s doors won’t be closing anytime soon.

Beyond Town and Cobalt, Green Lantern will be wooing bears with free pizza and drink specials. Other venues that have been suggested for the Friday fete are Remingtons, Ziegfeld’s/Secrets, The Eagle and Omega, to varying degrees. Where the bears eventually end up, however, will be up to the bears ­– and pups, cubs, otters and so on – themselves.

For Friday nightlife offerings, visit MetroWeekly.com/nightlife.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.