Favourite Local Gathering Place
2. Club 200
1. The Forks
2. Club 200
3. The Good Will Social Club
From rowdy lesbian lube-wresting nights (for a good cause, of course), to quiet Tuesday evenings with a cozy vibe, Club 200 has the downtown community covered.
Although Club 200 is known as a gay bar, it’s demonstrably more than that. Owners Allen Morrison and Joel Sarbit have a long track record of giving back to the community in any way they can, including offering their space up to local queer organizations for fundraising events.
The bar has deep roots within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, with Sarbit having been active within it since the 1960s. Morrison says it’s because of their long-standing relationship with the people that frequent the space that its doors are still open.
“I think a lot of people miss the social component of old-school gay bars and the safety that that provided,” he says. “I think that’s why you’re bound to see a lot of diversity in the clientele in gay bars now. They’re growing in popularity, but for the old-school spaces that managed to tough it out, they’re kind of a beacon for ‘others,’ for people who feel they don’t fit in at mainstream nightclubs.”
Morrison also credits the bar’s popularity to their effort in fostering a welcoming environment for patrons from all walks of life.
“Back in the ’90s, we had a catchphrase. It was ‘feel free to feel free.’ Come here, feel free to be whoever and whatever you are and discover yourself,” he says. “It’s a great place to do that, because you can meet so many different kinds of folks around that you didn’t even know you could (relate to). I think that (still) resonates with a lot of people.”
Published in Volume 74, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 28, 2019)