Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kicked Back

The old Kicked Back
Kicked Back
Location: 521 Southeast 10th Avenue, Amarillo, Texas, USA

Opened: At least as early as 2009--as it is mentioned as an "also ran" for the "Best Gay and Lesbian Bar" award for that year

Closed: July 2013

Kicked Back was a lesbian bar that went straight---in a rather chilling way.

The old Kick Back

Here's what Clubfly had to say about the former Kicked Back:

Type: Lesbian Bar
In a nutshell: Under new management and no longer gay. Was "Girl bar with open mic, pool, cheap drink specials nightly and a live DJ. Happy hour every day 5pm - 7pm"...


The newly straight and
"conservative" Kicked Back
with pornified ad (2014)
Yelp fills us in on the subsequent history, after Kicked Back was closed and turned into Kicked Back Ultra Lounge and Shot Bar:


Shots are what we do. It's in our name. Let us create mixed shots and specialty drinks you won't find in the Amarillo area, while providing you with awesome customer service. Also, don't forget our pool tables and wooden dance floor. We look forward to meeting you.        


Established in 2013.
The business was closed in June of 2013 and put up for sale, and served an alternative lifestyle clientele. The business was later purchased in September 2013. With a new owner, attitude, remodel, and direction, Kicked Back Ultra Lounge and Shot Bar now serves a Conservative clientele in the downtown Amarillo area. With new improvements inside monthly, this bar will be the hottest spot in Amarillo. Listen for us on 93.1 THE BEAT with DJ Element for all upcoming events.

Kind of sends shivers up your back, doesn't it? This is a theme we have seen before, but in this case the language is far more definitive and aggressive.
Kicked Back Ultra Lounge
and Shot Bar after remodeling  (2015)

As we have observed many times before, whenever a bar (or any other entity) serves as a womyn's space--no matter how modestly, no matter how compromised--it is very likely be recolonized by the men with a vengeance.

Very typically it's in a quasi-liberal vibe of going "queer" or "gay." But in this case, even the often veiled language of the takeover is laid bare.

Kicked Back Ultra Lounge and
Shot Bar (2015)
We're unabashedly turning this place from "alternative" (which admittedly is a relatively meaningless descriptor at best in terms of a place being woman-identified) to "conservative," which makes it pretty darn clear that lesbians of any stripe, no matter how down they are with the boys, are not welcome.

This anonymous (male?) customer obviously approves the "conservative" takeover. (And notice how straight men are now defined as "everyone.") From superpages, September 2014:

Amazing bar. It used to be a lesbian bar, but it has been remodeled and new customer base. No longer a gay bar. Its everyone's bar. Building looks great and is clean. The staff is awesome. The drinks, glassware, and layout is amazing. Thank you Kicked Back.

Another thought. I was mentioning this case to my partner and how odd it was that the new owners made a point of advertising that their intended clientele was "conservative." Given that this was a huge change from a lesbian bar, she asked, why did the new owners keep part of the old name? If you were opening up a hamburger place in a former French restaurant, you wouldn't save the old name. That would just be confusing to former and future customers.

So why didn't the owners rename the bar entirely since the place was going from "lesbian" to "conservative"?

Excellent question.

When new owners of a bar, restaurant, or business continue to use the old name, it's because they want to signal to the old customers that they still welcome them, that there is some degree of continuity even if they are making improvements and changes.

But in this case, the new owners seem to be thumbing their noses at the dykes. So is this just a way to taunt the old clientele? To have women show up who didn't know of the ownership change, and just embarrass them? Harass them? Or maybe worse???

Given the stepped up backlash, especially in the south after the same-sex marriage victories, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. It also sends the following victory signal loud and clear: Yes, this was your space, ladies, and now we control it. We're not erasing that this was a lesbian bar. Oh, no. On the contrary, we're gleefully celebrating our conquest and stomping all over your space.

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