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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bouncer Tries to Figure out the Crowd at Churchill

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 1:20 PM

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From this week's Bouncer column:

The bar space at the corner of 14th and Church has undergone a lot of changes and reinventions, so perhaps naming its latest avatar Churchill makes sense. Judging by the fly-by-night, short-lived, and unsuccessful nature of its last two incarnations (the Transfer and BOC), it will need the stalwart, bulldog tenacity of its namesake to make it -- not to mention some fiscal conservatism. There is something freaky about the placement of this bar; the qi is off, despite being at a busy corner that would seem to have everything going for it. Safeway is nearby, should you need to buy yourself a roast chicken. You have the J-Church line right outside the door, should you need to hop on and get your upper-middle-class ass back to Noe Valley. Still, inside any bar that sets up camp on this corner, you can't help but feel like a roadhouse Goldilocks in some sort of holding pattern, holed up in a demon-rum purgatory for lost souls who haven't quite made it to the next bar.

A reader told me that the place was "strange," and that he had walked in, looked around, and then promptly left. He wanted me to form my own opinion, so he didn't give me much information. I was intrigued. Would there be the fabled assless chaps (a clichéd holdover from the 1970s I have yet to see, ever, in the Castro), or a roomful of nuns, or perhaps bikers, or maybe even kitten jugglers? My friend Ed and I were determined to find out.

We had just finished dinner at Home, where the food was as good as usual but our server was way too old to be rocking a Bieber cut. Churchill is right across the street, so we stumbled over and got in line to have our IDs checked. This was already something new. I have never had to show identification at this address. I got a brief look inside, and the joint was packed. Drag queens slipped past us and headed down the street, which was odd, because at first glance the place seemed filled with straight professionals. Once inside we stood there, looking around, unsure of where to head. It was an eclectic mix of people, gay and straight, older and younger, rich and barely making the rent on their studios ...

... continue reading this week's Bouncer column.

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Katy St. Clair

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