We came for the Underwear Contest, but stayed for the chill atmosphere at Kiki, one of a handful of enticing new additions to D.C.’s LGBTQ bar scene.
That night, the fierce beats and mixes of DJ Derrick Johnson, a.k.a. DJ DJ, kept us on the dance floor, which, since it was still early in the evening, might not have been as packed as we’d seen it on a Sunday night a few weeks back.
But by the time hostess Crystal Edge made her appearance, a bustling, diverse crowd had materialized and the night percolated with possibility.
Outfitted, for now, with two dance floors, two bars, and a rear deck, the two-level Shaw area hotspot provides a ready space for meeting up or hooking up, drinking and dancing, or just taking in the energy of the U Street corridor.
“That’s what this whole vibe of Kiki is — trying new things, having good people around us, good vibes, pretty much just be a good human,” says the bar’s owner Keaton Fedak. “That is kind of the unofficial slogan: ‘Be a good human.’ Which is simple and easy.”
Fedak, longtime general manager of The Dirty Goose, the established gay bar next door, officially opened Kiki on January 1. (“I’m going to have a grand-grand opening, because we didn’t really have a grand opening,” Fedak says.)
So the party was off and running, with a combination of weekly drag shows, the aforementioned underwear contest, and four resident DJs — DJ Phil Reese, DJ Dez Jordan, DJ DJ, and DJ Matt Bailer — to keep the crowd pumped. Fedak, meantime, has his eye set toward expanding Kiki into an adjoining property he leased next door.
“Eventually, the fence that divides the properties in the back line will get knocked down, and we’ll have a beer garden out there, an outdoor bar, the upper decks connected,” he says. “This building right now is the club feel of everything that I wanted. And then the next building will be the lounge area, beer garden, and sports bar. So it’s a little place for everybody. You can always find your vibe here.”
And Fedak doesn’t want that vibe to stop at Kiki’s doorstep.
“The future plans for Kiki, and I said this in all the interviews with my staff, is I’m hoping to create a gayborhood on U Street by having these two buildings next to the Dirty Goose,” he says. “Just to start really making it that gayborhood vibe of DC, because we need it.
“I was on a trip down to Fort Lauderdale,” he continues, “and we took one Uber, and there’s like eight or ten different gay bars, and, ‘Alright, we had a drink here, not feeling the vibe. Yeah, let’s go over to this one.’ And it was just easy.
“You never were looking over your shoulder or something, never had to worry about any of that type of stuff. Because you’re in this little secluded area that’s just safe. I’d really like to make that here.”
Kiki Bar is located at 915 U St. NW. Visit www.dcwannahaveakiki.com.
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