|Blue Cactus (2001)|
Location: 3001 West 4th Street, Reno, Nevada, USA
Opened/Closed: Summer 2001
Closed: Before July 2004
Here's what gay-reno said about the Blue Cactus:
The Blue Cactus is predominately a women's bar, but friendly men hang there as well.
The bar is open daily from 11 until 3 am, sometimes later depending on the occasion. You'll find DJ Dance music every Friday and Saturday night, Country Music on Thursdays, Karaoke on Tuesdays and Absolutely Fabulous Mondays. The Blue Cactus features live music on occasion, but plans to have much more coming this summer.
The Blue Cactus opened in the summer of 2001, and has quickly become one of the community's favorite fun spots.
Blue Cactus was also the subject of a very nice write-up by Adrienne Rice in October 2001:
The first thing you’ll notice as you turn off of West Fourth Street onto the curving narrow driveway of the Blue Cactus Bar & Nightclub is the little wooden cactus cutouts, wrapped in Christmas lights, lighting up your way. And that’s just the first sign of the renovations that revamped the former Summit Saloon into what many are calling Reno’s only lesbian bar since Bad Dolly’s closed years ago.
The inside is just as inviting, as the old bar’s dirty, rural image has been updated into hip, Southwestern chic. Tiny spotlights hang warehouse-style from thin metal cords over the long bar, where the video poker screens have been replaced with shiny copper panels. The signs on the bathroom doors read “Pricks” and “Prickless"—a vulgarity softened by the cleverness of the play on the cactus theme.
But, of course, the most dramatic change you’ll notice when you cross the threshold is the women. Lots of women. Except for one talkative old guy at the bar, all of the patrons at the Blue Cactus on one recent night were women. And, as the night wore on, more women arrived in pairs and small groups until the place was fairly jumping.
Rice goes on to observe what an "anomaly" a lesbian bar is in the Reno area, where the vast majority of gay bars, publications, and organizations are dominated by men. But as she hastens to assure us, "the lesbian community is all around you—it’s just a little harder to find." In-depth interviews are also provided with two "30-something" women, Jeannie and Kim. I won't include all of that material--fascinating as it is--but I will include the last few paragraphs:
Talking with Jeannie and Kim, it’s evident that the Blue Cactus is already a home away from home for both of them. Kim says she’s tried to find this atmosphere at other gay bars in town, but until the Blue Cactus opened, she couldn’t find what she was looking for.
“Like I said, I didn’t know too many people, but once I came into this bar, I kind of opened myself up,” she says. “It’s a new atmosphere. It’s time to start making some friends. And I have so many friends here now, it’s great.”
But it’s not just about having a good time—it’s about being safe.
“There’s no sense of security, you know? You’ve got a lot of gay bashers out there who will easily walk into a bar, and they don’t care. They’ll hurt you. They’ll make fun of you. But here, everybody seems to know everybody. So when someone walks through that door, we all get a sense of whether that person’s safe or not. Because we all seem to look out for each other."
Things were still humming along peacefully when the Blue Cactus was reviewed yet again in March 2002:
“Wasted away again in Margaritaville”…The ‘Cactus’ caters to those in search of lazy days and crazy nights. Whether its sipping “Cactinis” on our outdoor terrezza or dancing the night away with our fun DJ and great bartenders, everyone will enjoy the excellent ventilation, open-minded sophistication, and day-dreamy ambiance.
But in the end, the safety concerns that Kim voiced proved frighteningly ominous. Just four months later, in July 2002, some @$$hole dude had to violate that sense of security. And not just at any Reno bar. No, he had to single out the town's only lesbian bar. An undated media release from the U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney, District of Nevada:
According to the court records, on July 13, 2002, Reno Police Officers were dispatched to the Blue Cactus Bar in Reno, where they found JONATHAN C. ALLEN, a convicted felon, in possession of an Essex Arms .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Under Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1), it is unlawful for any person who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to possess a firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
No details are offered as to what transpired that night. But had this guy kept his gun discretely concealed while hoisting a few brews with his lesbian cousin, it's unlikely the police would have been called. So I'm inclined to think to think that Mr. Allen threw his weight around a bit--to put it mildly. And showed those b*****s who's really in charge. And that be The Man.
In March 2003, Allen was sentenced to 80 months in Federal prison. But by the time he walked out a free man, the Blue Cactus was little more than a hazy memory. Equus, a "hip lounge," had set up shop there by July 2004. At some point, Equus was replaced by Reflections, a gay (male) country-western bar. And most recently, Point Lounge, an "old school" Rat Pack type place, has been at that location.
Seems to be one of those cases where the "pricks" won....
Photos: Blue Cactus