Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Gay Bar Opens in
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

(Architect Ward Whitwam gives a tour of the David bar.
Photo credit: Emily Spartz, Argus Leader.)

This is no April Fools' Day joke. A second gay bar opened two weeks ago in South Dakota's largest city. For decades the only gay watering hole in Sioux Falls was Touchez, but now, the owner of that bar, Doug Kooiker, has started a second one.

I chatted with Doug on the phone this morning and he reports that business has been good. Doug is also a supporter of the Sioux Falls gay community center.

The new bar is called David, and before it opened for business, the state's largest daily, the Argus Leader, gave it some advance publicity last month:

The bar and dance club has been in the works for some time and was supposed to open before the end of 2007.

But architect Ward Whitwam said various renovation issues, including delayed shipments, set back the opening date. David will be an upscale version of Kooiker's current bar Touch├ęz and will have the same gay-friendly atmosphere.

A brochure says of David, "We embrace a European attitude celebrating diversity while finding common ground. We extend our welcome to all and encourage a sense of pride and community." [...]

The space is industrial with a Roman flair. Think steel staircases and a replica of David, exposed brick walls and photos of ancient architecture.

Folks even will get a blast from the past with the old Rainbow Bar sign hanging on the second floor.


Anonymous said...

Darn it, I was planning to buy an abandoned missile silo in South Dakota and open the wildest gay bar on the Great Plains. I was going to call it "The Prairie Dog." Now that there's another gay bar opening in Sioux Falls, I'll have to put my plan on the shelf.

Anonymous said...

Well it's not much of a gay bar. I went to David the first 2 nights and it was the most awkward place I have ever been. I was dancing with a male friend of mine and everyone just stood around and stared. There were hardly any gays at this place, it was mainly older straight people or the young straight college people. The $5 at the door was not even worth it and felt like a total waste. Recently I have learned that one of the bar tenders who had been at the former bar, Touchez, has or was considering leaving as a result of how they treated her at the new place. As expected, the "newness" of the bar has worn off and no lines exist to get in.

Touchez may have been "trashy" as some would say, but it was at least a fun place to go where you didn't have to feel awkward. So much for being a "gay" bar, it's more of a straight bar than anything without a rainbow in sight. Can you say modern Bucks?

Anonymous said...

It is not a gay bar. they will tell you that at the door.. its gay friendly. I feel uncomfortable being myself there.. would never kiss my man there. it is more like being at bucks.. Id never kiss a guy there either. Too bad sioux falls cant have an a real gay bar!

for some reason batchelorette partys love going there. Maybe thats why all the straight guys like going there??

Unknown said...

Get over yourselves, closeted SF gay boys. What's the big deal? You've been paying attention to the media for the last 10 years, haven't you? Gay is smattered all over the culture these days. They can't seem to make a movie or TV series with a gay character!

Do you really think that someone coming into a "gay-friendly bar" is going to get offended if they see two guys kissing?

I'll qualify myself. I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, I came out at 19. As soon as I was old enough, I started going to Touchez and within a year, I was working there as a part-time server.

When I visit home, I often revisit the scene. I am astounded by how closeted you folks are down there! The lesbians seem to have no trouble being comfortable with who they are -- in OR out of the "gay bar".

Perhaps you should examine your own perception of yourself and stop building box around yourself!

I don't mean to be harsh or critical here but it seems obvious to me that until you start behaving gay respectfully and responsibly, the straight community isn't going to be educated. Thank goodness for the last decade of TV and movies!

Anonymous said...

I would agree with the others above and have to say that Christopher Raymond doesn't have much of a clue. When you cannot go to a place that claims to be at the minimum "gay friendly" and feel like you are on display, can't embrace your significant other, and have to constantly guard yourself in that respect... then it's certainly not living up to what it claims.

I will agree however that there are quite a few people that frequent David or that are a part of the gay community in Sioux Falls that perpetuate the gay stereotypes and myths that the general public use as weapons to treat gays differently and to think negatively of the community. Until they clean up their act and realize that their lazy, slutty, drama filled lives effect more than just themselves, then I'm not sure that anyone will treat the gay community different than they already do.

I know that hearing derogatory words being thrown around constantly creates for a hostile and unfriendly environment, which is what David seems to incubate.

Unknown said...

I'll admit that I have not yet been to "David" and don't have a personal sense of what the climate is like. Perhaps its violent and I'm simply not aware of that. If that's the case, perhaps the police department needs to commit an officer to provide security and maybe you need to request that.

The point I'm trying to get across here is that YOU decide how you feel, no one else does. If you're going to feel closeted, then you're gonna act closeted and no progress will be made. So to complain about how your own feelings are going to create your own behavior -- well, it's rather absurd.

If you want change, make your voice heard. Stand up, be brave, be a man, but be respectful in the process.

Anonymous said...

A New Gay bar opened in Sioux Falls called Toppers
1213 N Cliff Ave 605 339-7686 (old brass rail) fun bar that is really a gay bar!!! Davids is mostly str8 now!
and the 5.00 cover is NOT worth it plus the high drink prices!

Anonymous said...

david is a lame lame LAME bar...

Anonymous said...

The owner and operations mgr.(which happen to be brother and sister) have driven all of the local gay community out of this bar. Even going as far as throwing people out for same sex dancing. The owner who happens to be gay has literally had his gay card revoked from the community that supported his other bars for years. It really is just a matter of time before this place closes its doors.

Wayne Wieseler said...

28 years ago, I walked into a gay bar in Sioux Falls, South Dakota--my first gay bar. I believe it was called The Hitching Post.

I was raised on a ranch in central South Dakota. and I was an incredibly frightened farm boy. The first friendly, welcoming person I met was Doug Kooiker.

No other person I know has given so much of his life in trying to create a safe place for the LGBT community to gather. Yes, his bars have had highs and lows, but one consistency is his commitment to our community. He continues to have my utmost respect and gratitude. Good luck, Doug, on all your ventures.


Anonymous said...

Well I'm totally going to David's with my girlfriend and just gonna watch the show