Does Winona have a Gay Bar?
Recently, I was able to catch up with Jake Warner, bar manager of the new night club Rendezvous and of The Mason Jar, which is attached to Rendezvous. To the unfamiliar, it’s the back space to The Mason Jar which was formerly known as Cheater’s, The Draught Haus, and Rascal’s. I wanted to ask him some questions about the things everyone else I came into contact with wanted to know as well. The rumors and buzz had already started to circulate online. Basically, is this place a gay bar or something else? Here’s what Jake had to say:
Todd: Why did you decide to open Rendezvous? Did any particular event or happening make you decide to? Did you see a need for a gay-friendly venue in Winona or a lack thereof?
Jake: We ultimately decided to go with a gay bar because it was a market that has not been catered to in Winona yet, and it was a good use of the space and, overall, a cause worth pursuing.
Todd: Rendezvous is pronounced REN-DEZ-VOOZE right? It’s Ukrainian?
Jake: Right continent, wrong side…Ron-Day-Voo is the pronunciation we are going with…ala the French.
Todd: What does gay-friendly mean exactly for people entering the door to Rendezvous, and is it for both gay and straight people?
Jake: We decided to coin the bar gay “friendly” in order to not alienate any other clientele that would like a safe, clean place to dance and have a good time. But we also wanted people of the gay community to know it is a safe space for them and anyone discriminating against them will be asked to leave.
Todd: Winona had its first burlesque show in recent history this past year in the upstairs of DIBS cafe. It was well attended and well received. It was a sold out crowd, in fact. Do you imagine we’ll be seeing anything like drag shows, dancers, or any other entertainment in the realm of the taboo at Rendezvous in the near future?
Jake: The idea of doing a drag show has come up but we don’t have any solid plans on anything of that nature currently.
Todd: Besides being promoted as gay-friendly— what else can a patron at Rendezvous expect?
Jake: It’s, generally, just an up-beat, fun place to hang out. We added a bunch of seating so patrons can hang out without having to dance.
Todd: Any other plans for the future of Rendezvous thus far?
Jake: We are booked as a venue for the Mid West Music Festival and plan on doing some other shows in the near future, including possibly adding a karaoke night.
Todd: How will things work between the Mason Jar and Rendezvous as far as logistics and going back and forth go? And if someone displays an un-gay friendly attitude or says a gay slur at Rendezvous—do you send them over to The Mason Jar for a timeout?
Jake: The two bars are going to be operated as separately as possible starting with Rendezvous having its own entrance on the Walnut side of the building near the ally and the door between the two bars becoming a staff only door. As far as anti-gay sentiment goes, I don’t think it is acceptable at any bar.
Check out more information about Rendezvous at their Facebook