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Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News: Shakers brings new chapter to U Street queer bar scene

The busy intersection at 9th and U streets is about to see a bit more action. Shakers, a new bar from the owners of Dirty Goose, is set to debut the weekend of July 21 after a soft opening last weekend.

Located in the former Whitlow’s bar (which has moved a couple storefronts down to the former Brixton building), this indoor-outdoor bar takes a decidedly different approach than its feathered sister. While owners Justin Parker and Daniel Honeycutt expressed a love for the liveliness and pace of nightlife-forward Dirty Goose, Shakers will be an all-day affair, encompassing day-to-night, weekday-to-weekend vibe shifts.

Shakers is set to be a “full-spectrum bar, with everything from family nights to ANC meet-and-greets to drag shows,” they say. They want to “curate a space with balance.”

In 2016, the duo opened Dirty Goose (and got married the same year). Coming out of the pandemic last year and with their bar well in flight, they hatched a plan to expand. Since 2016, and especially since the pandemic, they developed a friendship with restaurateurs and hospitality leaders Hilton brothers (Ian and Eric), who ran Brixton on the corner. (“Great allies,” they note).

When Whitlow’s took over that Brixton corner bar, the Hilton brothers knew the Whitlow’s space would be open – and gave the intel to Parker and Honeycutt. “We visited the space and fell in love.”

Parker notes that “our first bar, the Dirty Goose, didn’t really allow [us] to hold shows and events for larger groups. This new space is perfect for this. We have already built a stage and are planning on holding events from drag performances to community panels.”

In fact, one of the bar’s first events is set to feature a panel on the movement to fight anti-drag legislation – followed by performances from drag queens.

That’s not all that the couple is shaking up.

For one, the new bar dispensed with the moody and darker atmosphere of Whitlow’s. Partnering with the designer of the bar that preceded Whitlow’s, they shifted in favor of a lighter, more neutral color scheme that could adapt to afternoon catch-ups as well as nighttime sweaty dancing. The relaxed patio means that patrons can take a quick break.

While Whitlow’s didn’t have a stage, Parker and Honeycutt knew they needed to build one. They removed all but two booths, put in tables that can be moved for standing-room crowds, and purchased stackable bar stools. The new capacity: more than 250, including indoor and outdoor. They installed dance floor lights and lasers, along with more serene fixtures to use during the day.

“Goose is so special to us, and we wanted to make sure we are giving two different spaces. Goose thrives with the rooftop and music that has been curated over the last seven years. If there is anything we wanted to do that Goose’s layout didn’t really allow was to hold shows and events for larger groups. This new space is perfect for this.”

Parker and Honeycutt did spot a gem in Whitlow’s leftovers. The bar maintained an extensive draft system they were thrilled to inherit. Unlike at Goose with four taps, they’ll now have access to nine. Three had been dedicated to draft cocktails, which Shakers will use for this purpose. The extensive draft lines means that Shakers can be more playful with the drink offerings.

They also noted that at Goose, they always had a martini list. “This fell off a bit post-pandemic,” they said, which they want to revive at Shakers. And as self-described winos, the wine list “will be much more than one white and one red,” they promise.

They also brought in a new toy to play with: one that inspired the bar’s name. On a recent road trip, they encountered an Imperial Shaker. Bright red, the “Gatsby-esque” machine will be a bar centerpiece, around which they’ll curate a special menu.

As for food, they built a partnership with (the new) Whitlow’s. That corner bar will dedicate a small, curated menu for Shakers, with a few snacks and shareables. Food will be delivered right from the Whitlow’s kitchen to Shaker’s guest tables.

In the works: a rotating happy hour, a partnership with DJ Farrah Flosscett, and a host of all-ages events, shows, and community engagement.

Parker and Honeycutt recognize that they’re among a new cadre of bars, and are thrilled to be part of it. “We’re never upset that Kiki opened next door. At the end of the day, we’re excited to create space. Our perspective is that the pie can grow, and we can add another element to the U Street corridor. And in light of recent Supreme Court decisions, we absolutely need more gay bars and safe spaces.”

The post Shakers brings new chapter to U Street queer bar scene first appeared on Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News.

The post Shakers brings new chapter to U Street queer bar scene appeared first on Washington Blade: LGBTQ News, Politics, LGBTQ Rights, Gay News.

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