LGBTQ2S lounge, Friends of Dorothy, opened in Victoria on Dec. 18. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

LGBTQ2S lounge, Friends of Dorothy, opened in Victoria on Dec. 18. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

LGBTQ2S lounge Friends of Dorothy opens in Victoria

Cocktail lounge aims to create comfortable space for LGBTQ2S people and allies

(Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

“Louis XIV meets punk chic” at Victoria’s newest gay bar, which opened on Dec. 18.

An eclectic mix of emerald velvet lounge chairs, hand-painted murals, exposed brick walls and a dangling three-tier chandelier reveal Friends of Dorothy for exactly what it is – a place where every kind of person can be themselves.

Owner Rudy Tomazic says he wants the space to be somewhere where LGBTQ2S people and allies can co-exist comfortably.

“I’m hoping it brings more inclusivity across the board,” he said, emphasizing that patrons should expect to see women holding hands, men holding hands, men and women holding hands, and every variation in between.

The name ‘Friends of Dorothy’ dates back to at least World War II, when being queer was a punishable crime.

“The way that you used to be able to identify is if you were at a social function or restaurant and you wondered if someone was queer, you would ask ‘Are you a friend of Dorothy’s?’ ” Tomazic explained. “And, if they said yes, then you knew you were aligned and could express who you were.”

READ ALSO: ‘More vital now:’ Gay-straight alliances go virtual during COVID-19 pandemic

Friends of Dorothy owner Rudy Tomazic chats with a couple patrons. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

With shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race becoming mainstream, and people opening up to the idea of gender and sexual fluidity, Tomazic said he’s hopeful that Friends of Dorothy can be more than another fleeting, late-night hotspot for the queer community.

The lounge is open every morning for brunch and every evening for cocktails and bites.

Despite opening mid-pandemic, Tomazic said it’s gone well. The only significant alteration they had to make was reducing their capacity from 105 to 60 people.

Already, Tomazic said they’re receiving the kind of feedback they wanted. Days after opening, one of their tradespeople told him, “When I come in here, I forget about the rest of the world because it’s such a comfortable place and I just want to stay.”

Friends of Dorothy is located at 537 Johnson Street.

READ ALSO: New Victoria tropical cocktail lounge designed with COVID-19 safety in mind


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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