With tens of thousands of people flocking to Atlanta Pride this week, gay glossy Fenuxe offers this simple welcome: The city’s nightlife options are a “disgusting” platter of shit and it’s all your fault.
Well, then. Nothing says Happy Pride! quite like a smiling waiter holding a steaming pile of shit on a silver platter.
The stank of the message seeps through a four-page hit piece on Atlanta gay bars called “Why can’t we have nice things???” It’s included in the 180-page Pride edition of the magazine distributed last week and offers complaints about small drinks, “dirty and disgusting” venues and bar owners who “punish their patrons and squeeze every cent they can from them.” (Read the full article below.)
“As I look around in the most popular gay bars in Atlanta, I find myself holding my nose, watching my step, avoiding drunks, and desperately dodging fellow patrons in order to save my sad – yet expensive – 4 oz. drink,” Fenuxe staffer Nico Stoerner writes.
Drunks in a bar? Shocking. But there’s more.
“While some of our local bars and clubs have upgraded their fixtures, added granite, and even installed better lighting – by and large they remain dirty, crowded, and in many cases, disgusting,” Stoerner adds.
When the magazine hit the streets, and distribution spots in many of those same “disgusting” bars, nightlife-goers and bar owners reacted harshly on social media and tossed the special Pride edition in the trash.
“I feel bad for them,” says Jungle owner Richard Cherskov, who is overseeing a massive renovation of the popular gay dance club. “This is going to be disastrous for their business unless they get out in front of this and acknowledge that they screwed up.”
Since the criticism flared late last week, Fenuxe has remained silent. The article couldn’t be found during searches of their website and it hasn’t been referred to on their Facebook page. Comments from readers who criticized the article have been deleted from the Fenuxe Facebook page. The lack of response is similar to how the magazine reacted in the wake of an apparent anti-gay assault outside its Fire Party at Atlantic Station in early August.
“Did they really print an article in their magazine basically saying that bars in Atlanta are ‘shit,’” Heretic General Manager Alan Collins asks rhetorically. “The two-page photo of a waiter holding a silver platter of hot steaming shit leaves no room for error.”
Collins says the Fenuxe piece lacks any understanding of the tough financial situation bars —and other LGBT-owned businesses – face in a tough economy and lacks an appreciation for the loyal patrons that support gay Atlanta nightlife. A handful of gay-owned businesses have closed in recent months, including lesbian bar Bellissima, Outwrite and Poster Hut.
“The worst part is they printed it in their Pride issue, which adds insult to injury. There will be hundreds of thousands of people pouring into this city over Pride weekend and many of them will read this article. You have to wonder how many of those won’t return because of this poorly written piece of trash opinion piece,” Collins adds.
The Fenuxe article also complains about Atlanta bars with cover charges and high drink prices, and compares the city’s nightlife scene to larger cities including New York and Los Angeles and their bars with “stylish finishes, mood lighting, and great music.” But while it hints that other cities offer more for less in terms of gay bars and drinks, the magazine offers no factual comparison.
“Stoerner fails to mention the exuberant cover prices that patrons pay to get into those so sleekly designed clubs,” says BJ’s co-owner Bobby Hamill. “And if Stoerner thought the drinks were expensive here in Atlanta, the prices for drinks in places where perhaps the ‘cocktails are named after disorders’ are three to four times the cost they are here in Atlanta.”