Voted Best Gay Bar by New York Magazine!
An establishment that (like straight dancing-bartender predecessors such as Hogs & Heifers) pulls off the trick of being both rousingly festive and laid-back at the same time. The venue commits to its Wild West saloon theme with wood- plank floors, steer motif, Bonnie Raitt, on the jukebox, and Westerns on TV. But it isn’t above pleasing its clientele with flashing rainbow lights and bar-dancing cowboy bartenders.
Where Cowboys Roam
A Gay Bar That’s Part Coyote Ugly, Part Reality TV Fodder
By James Barron
Flaming Saddles was Ms. Squatriglia’s idea. She and Mr. Barnes met in 2009, when he had a part in the film “Good Day for It,” an independent movie shot in rural Pennsylvania, and she was an executive producer. After what Mr. Barnes described as “the usual on-set romance,” they moved to Manhattan together and had one of those serious couples talks.
“I said, ‘Do you want to get married and have kids, or do you want to have fun?’ ” he recalled. “She said, ‘Have fun.’ I said, ‘What are we going to do?’ She said, ‘I want to open a gay country-western bar.’ I was trying to be spontaneous and comedic, so I said, ‘As long as we call it “Flaming Saddles,” I’m in.’ Then I said, ‘Not that it matters, but why?’ ” She said that at Coyote Ugly, she would work out a routine, only to say to herself, “I wish that was boys.”
She had definite ideas for Flaming Saddles — “I had opened 25 other bars,” she said. “I knew what I wanted.” — and Ms. Squatriglia and Mr. Barnes rejected advice they got as they prepared to open.
“We have a lot of gay friends we consulted with,” Mr. Barnes said. “They said, ‘Topless on the bar.’ Jacqui said, ‘I don’t think so.’ They said, ‘You have to have a D.J.’ Jacqui said, ‘I don’t think so.’ They said, ‘You can’t use a jukebox in a gay bar.’ Jacqui said, ‘I think so.’ We said: ‘You know what? Let’s just open a saloon we’d like to walk into regardless of sexuality.’ ”
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