There has been a giant void in the market ever since Truman’s closed in 2012. The popular two-story gay bar at the 100 Center in Mishawaka was the largest in the South Bend region.
Now that Truman’s is gone, the local LGBT community has turned to places like Vickie’s in downtown South Bend or to Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.
“There was clearly a need for an upscale non-smoking social venue for the GLBT community but no one had any plans to open a new club so some friends and I decided to try a concept that had been successful in other cities like Boston, Philadelphia and LA – to take a straight bar and make it gay for the night,” says Willow Wetherall, the founder and co-organizer of Guerrilla Gay Bar.
The Guerrilla Gay Bar — which will be celebrating its second anniversary in December — is a monthly event held on the second Saturday each month at alternating venues. Wetherall along with Michael Lane co-organize the event, choosing a new venue each month.
“We focus on locally-owned, non-smoking venues,” Wetherall says.
The most recent locations have been at Woochi Japanese Fusion & Bar in downtown South Bend and at the Emporium Building in the East Bank Village neighborhood. October’s event will be held at Ciao’s Lounge.
Wetherall says that the Guerrilla Gay Bar has a number of goals.
GGB aims to “provide fun, upscale, non-smoking social events for the GLBT community and allies, expand the number of welcoming businesses in South Bend and increase the number of places that people feel comfortable being out, generate positive exposure for South Bend both regionally and nationally as a welcoming city, support LGBT causes for equality under the law and be at the forefront of South Bend’s revitalization by creating vibrant social events.”
This month’s event will be especially exciting as Indiana officially joined the ranks of marriage equality states. It also coincides with National Coming Out Day.
Guerrilla Gay Bar will take over Ciao’s Lounge beginning at 9 pm on Saturday, October 11 with the DJ beginning at 10 pm. The event runs until 2 am.
Ciao’s is located at 119 N Michigan Street in downtown South Bend. You can also join the group’s Facebook page to keep posted on future events at http://facebook.com/groups/ggbsb/.