Back when I started my search for intelligent gay life downtown, I discovered Sunday brunch at Atlas and it quickly became a favorite spot. It's upscale, reasonably pulled-together decor-wise (that teal ceiling is an issue, but you know you can't tell a business owner anything), and has a bar big enough for an evening of hanging out drinking martinis (or alternately, a Sunday afternoon of bottomless mimosas). The crowd is very diverse in all the best ways, and everyone is really quick to mingle. A lot of residents of the Addison apartments (upstairs in the same building) are regulars, and that building is no stranger to a homosexual tenant.
For a while, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays were pulling a pretty decent gay professional crowd in their mid-20's and up. By "decent" I mean anywhere from a smattering to a gangle. I suspect having a hot, charismatic gay bartender might have had something to do with this. There was also a swell Guerrilla Queer Bar event there last fall that had a really nice turnout (pic swiped from the Detroit Guerrillas site).
That popular bartender left Atlas a month or two ago, and the word was that there's been some downturn in the overall bar scene there. Since I am a busy professional I haven't been keeping tabs on this, so I sent the Supergay Investigative Team "4 on the Floor" in to find out the truth.
Caveat: I gauge the bar scene completely separately from restaurant activity, so in no way whatsoever should any comments be construed to mean business is slow at Atlas, because it is not. But I know how you bitches are.
Visits on three separate weeknights over the past seven days revealed that yes, in fact, the bar scene seems to have mellowed out a bit. That is not to say the bar was completely empty, but a Thursday night that might once have been labeled "casually bustling" would now be downgraded to "vibrantly subdued." The bar scene has always been a little hit-or-miss, and I don't know if it's the frenzy of another sports season starting or this crappy weather, but things do seem slower.
Now there was some talk last year, since Wednesdays were turning out to be so very lavender, of making an official gay night. The management team could not quite pull it together to officially declare this so it just stayed this little scene until late last fall. In recent weeks we'd had conversations about it and I told them that Jesus still wants them to have a gay night, and they seemed receptive to it. So it looks like Wednesdays might be the night, if it can gain momentum.
The first official "gay night" (man, that is a tacky expression) was last night, and was like any other Wednesday, really. There is a new sweetheart of a gay bartender, and a handful of people at the bar, most of them gay. Everyone ended up chatting with each other, it was actually a really good time!
I met an interesting fellow who moved to downtown Detroit from gay heaven San Francisco who obviously has been reading this blog because he complained about (a) where the fuck are all the gay people in Detroit, (b) how come every gay person you actually do meet in Detroit is coupled, and (c) why the fuck to the gay bars suck so hard here? Hello, my thoughts exactly!
He also said he and his friends used to come to Atlas a lot in part to see the previous bartender, so I guess his departure does have something to do with the current state of events. But that ain't gonna change so I guess it's just our gay civic duty to show up and drink anyway.
So the prognosis for Atlas is still great, and despite this little slump it is still the best option for gay professional-types to hang out someplace nice, get a great drink (or an awesome meal, by the way) and meet interesting folks like me. If you are gay or have gay friends you can drag along, stop on by. And don't limit yourself to Wednesdays, because every night can be a gay old time at Atlas!