Monday, October 24, 2011

Liquid Cafe and Lounge

Liquid Cafe and Lounge (2008)
Liquid Cafe and Lounge

Address: 1100 High Street, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Opened: May 17, 2008

Closed: Fall 2009

Here's the birth announcement from ColumbusUnderground:

Liquid, the new cafe, lounge and weekend danceclub located in the Short North sets its grand opening date for Saturday, May 17. Doors will open to the public at 7PM. The party will feature complimentary hors d’oeuvres, specialty drinks, professional dancers and live DJ entertainment. Prior to the grand opening, Liquid has scheduled an invitation-only VIP party on Friday, May 16, for everyone who signed up early on the website.

Liquid is a full service restaurant and lounge open seven days a week, featuring Liquid Lunch specials and Happy hour + small plates. “Liquid is open to everyone for lunch, dinner and happy hour,” says Deborah Yankulov, club owner. “Our Chef, Sherri Brunner, has put together an eclectic cafe-style menu serving delicious food at decent prices.” Yankulov says to expect some sizzle on the weekends when the entire club will be transformed to ladies' night every Friday and Saturday night. The space is outfitted with a complete light and sound system, including their very own Liquid lights. Sexy dancers and DJs spinning mainstream club dance music will be part of the entertainment, along with monthly themed parties and impromptu staff performances. “We want this to be a fun place where the ladies can come out, have a great time and feel comfortable who they are,” says Yankulov. Liquid also plans a lush outdoor patio garden, which will be smoker-friendly.

Here's the lowdown from GayCities:

Ladies night-- every night at Liquid Lounge.
Catering to the upscale Lesbian crowd, Liquid Lounge is a cafe, lounge and nightclub. Each night features a different theme- Karaoke and 80s theme nights are its most popular nights.

And from ClubFly:

Type: Lesbian Club

In a nutshell: Liquid is restaurant and lounge, featuring happy hour and on the weekends, the entire club is transformed to ladies night every Friday and Saturday night. Dancers and DJs spinning mainstream club dance music are part of the entertainment, along with themed parties. To cool off, there is a smoker-friendly outdoor garden patio and lounge area for food or drink...

Initial patron reviews were quite positive. Here's one from GayCities in July 2008:

Liquid Lounge opened its doors in June 2008 and caters to an upscale urban professional lesbian crowd. Opened in the former location of a concert hall, the contemporary styled bar and lounge also has a lunch menu with standard American fare.

And from September 2008:

I go as often as possible. Any and everytime you go you will enjoy yourself. Everyone is super friendly and drama free. This club is very diverse and I just love the staff they're hot and real down to earth and the people that attend are cool even when you don't know anybody everybody is sociable.

Needless to say, by the end of the year the whiners were finally out in force. Including the straight girls/gay boys who couldn't find a guy to pick up--at a lesbian bar (quel surprise!). Both of these are from December 2008:

Staff is not hott [sic] at all i was actually a little repulsed by some of them music not good at all and drinks are over priced... though i will say they converted the shit hole that was little brothers into a nice place.

Nice, clean almost feel like i'm in a different city. But mostly women not a place to pick up a guy. Lol

Then there was this entitled (but oh-so-liberal) straight girl with attitude. This from yelp in January 2009:

Let me also preface by saying that I am an avid supporter of the LGBT crowd and while I am a straight girl, the lez usually love me.

My friend (straight dude) and I (straight girl) clearly were not welcome here - which is a very unusual experience in the Cbus!  Sure, we were gawking a little at the updated layout, new booths and fresh paint, but only because I was so impressed by what they did to the place!  However, for the huge dance floor, quick bartenders, new bathrooms and ample space, this place sure was dead on a Saturday nite.  As for the patrons, I was super surprised to see get so many stink-eyes at one bar. Meh.

Meh indeed. Because other straight folks reported no problems at all:

Though Liquid targets lesbians, everyone is welcome. As a straight woman, I was totally unaffected and wouldn't have guessed it was a lesbian bar if I hadn't already known. Guys - straight or gay - are welcome too.

Generally we find consistent praise for the facility (which was gorgeous, based on the photos). Here's a random sampling, all from yelp:

Liquid Cafe and Lounge interior (2008)

The dance floor is one of the best in Columbus.

I was so impressed by what they did to the place!

I got to watch the place change from a dingy music hall to a sleek, feminine, water infused dance club.

I love the accenting water features on the bar and on the wall near the bathroom. The white couches near the front are posh, and I can't believe how clean they've stayed. The bar is big and inviting. And the blue lighting really sets everything off. The staff is super friendly and a bit flirty.

The front area where the bar is is huge. Unless you knew about it or were wandering around, you wouldn't suspect that the double doors near the back lead to a dance area and lounge that doubles the size of the space. The dance area has a DJ booth, shiny beaded curtains, and plush red couches. The floors are exposed concrete. The walls are bare and industrial.

The patio is what everyone talks about. This too is brand new. They added brand new pavement, lots of plants, tables, and modern blue umbrellas. It's cute.

Many people liked their drinks, too--especially the mojitos and martinis--though, predictably, some objected to the prices.

But we also see a consistent concern about the sometimes iffy service and lack of clientele. Why weren't the girls showing up?

....for the huge dance floor, quick bartenders, new bathrooms and ample space, this place sure was dead on a Saturday nite.  

The first time I went was with two friends for a quick happy hour the first full week they were open. Service was poor, and drinks weren't all that cheap.  Ordered the hummus plate, and it was quite decent.

Second time was with my neighbors the weekend of Memorial Day.  Very small crowd for a weekend night. Service was slightly better, but only had one beer then left in search of a more lively crowd.

Third time was just this Monday with a group of seven friends.  Our server was very nice and friendly, but I got the wrong drink the second time.  Food was mediocre and overpriced for small portions.

I like the redecoration, but so far the quality doesn't live up to the look.

I'm nervous because every time I go in, it's different. Sometimes there are lots of people, sometimes only a few. A couple times I stopped in around lunch, and I was the only one there.

There's not always a definitive answer as to why a lesbian bar fails and ultimately passes away. But I suspect that opening as an upscale bar in the midst of a recession probably didn't help her long-time survival chances.

 Photo: Liquid Lounge

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