As the warmer weather pokes its head out of the ground and finishing preparations are being made ahead of Pride Month, the former Cathode Ray in Allentown is reopening as a new all-inclusive, LGBTQIA-friendly bar called 26.
But first, let’s pour a little out for the Cathode Ray, which was an anchor in the gay bar scene for more than 35 years. To be fair, the bar had its ups and downs, even within the local queer community. But ultimately, it was community-oriented and always full of unique characters.
At the new 26, you should expect an entirely different cast of characters. While the Cathode Ray had a reputation for mostly being a gay men’s bar, the owners of 26 are branding it as a more inclusive bar meant to attract gay women, trans folks and the greater queer community. A recent press release read: “With a mission to create a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, 26 promises to be a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted.”
Of course, being welcomed and accepted is all well and good, but to be successful, a bar has gotta be fun, and 26 already has a lot of events scheduled. Regular events will include karaoke, dance parties, community events and all kinds of performances. The bar is also offering a contemporary drink menu with an emphasis on local craft beer selection, craft cocktails and mocktails. The bar’s social media profiles are regularly updated with all the various events going on, so follow them to keep up to date.
It’s admirable that the owners of 26 are trying to create a space where the queer community can come together. However, the LGBTQIA+ community is not a monolith and there are cultural differences within it. On top of that, the bar is meant to welcome people from different cultural backgrounds that are from outside the queer community. The owners of 26 have indicated that they’re dedicated to bridging any gaps and creating a space where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their identity. The staff has undergone inclusivity training and the bar has strong policies in place regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, with a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination.
With the formalities out of the way, we’re looking forward to checking out the new place and gearing up for what should be an epic post-COVID Pride Month.
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Daily, 1 p.m. – 3 a.m.
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