Titan, one of the gay bars that helped usher in the newly redeveloped nightlife scene on 14th Street NW, has changed its name to better reflect the bar's new identity as a place where, says the owner, ''regular guys can go and feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.''
The new name? Ramrod.
It's certainly a memorable and attention-grabbing moniker for a gay bar, and one with a history in the gay community, says D.C. Allen, owner of the Crew Club and a friend of Ramrod owner Glenn Mlaker.
''Ramrod is a very popular club in both Boston and Ft. Lauderdale,'' says Allen. ''It attracts an extremely varied clientele -- leather, wolves, cubs, bears -- we definitely want to...reflect that.''
Allen says he is currently working with Mlaker on changes to the bar as a friend -- although they are looking at forming a business partnership. The Crew Club, located a few doors down from Ramrod, was an even earlier gay venture on 14th Street.
''Glenn and I have been friends for years,'' says Allen. ''[He] needed a second set of eyes and another batch of ideas.''
Mlaker says that the bar is looking to build on the success it's had as Titan, particularly the bear-oriented Woof! Friday night parties. Gone from Ramrod are the drag and game shows that often took the Titan stage, although the popular Wednesday night Smartass Trivia will remain.
The Ramrod is new both in name and décor. A new paint job has changed the look, and the stage that once dominated the front of the bar is gone, replaced with new seating and open windows that give patrons a view of 14th Street.
''Everything has become so white in the city,'' says Mlaker. ''Halo's white, Be Bar is white. Everything's so sterile, we wanted to do something a little different.''
''It's a classic, old-time bar room,'' adds Allen.
The front stage is gone -- a new stage has been added further back in the bar, part of another new approach for the bar: the Men of Ramrod.
''[It's] based on the fact that we like to see handsome men up on stage and the bar having a good time,'' says Allen. Unlike the recently closed strip bars in southeast, these dancers will be wearing clothes.
Allen's quick to point out: ''But not a lot of clothes.''