Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: The Opening of Flaming Saddles Saloon NYC

Last week was the grand opening of Blazing Saddles Salloon, an new gay country/western-themed bar in NYC. They hyped up the launch by sending out invites to the pre-opening event, which featured free drafts.

image from

Checking out the website, I noticed a few distinctive characteristics about Flamers. First, they advertise dancing bartenders. Like choreographed, on the bar, Coyote Ugly-style dancing! Secondly, they're on 9th Ave in Hell's Kitchen. Most gay bars are not on avenues, and the last one to try it was Flava Lounge ("Wait, where?" "Eh, you didn't miss much."). Thirdly, their happy hour is NOT a straight up 2-4-1 like most gay bars: it's a rotating schedule of drink specials. However, they have midnight-2 drink specials Monday-Friday, which non-9-to-5ers will appreciate, and weekend specials til 6 advertised on their website.

The pre-opening was 8-9, but my lazy ass didn't get there til 8:40. I saw the line and tossed my hair as I walked up to the door.

"Oh, the line is actually for those who RSVPed. But let me check you in before you get on line."

Luckily, my cruise buddy (Atlantis, not back-of-the-bar) Calipornia was second in line. She'd been waiting a half hour. Hugh Hysell of The Men Event seemed to be running things, so it was no surprise that there was such a massive crowd.

image from flaming saddles salloon's facebook page

As soon as we got inside, two massive staff people presented with a branded, pre-tied red bandana. Of course, I immediately thought of the Hanky Code and spent the rest of the night looking for boys with their bandanas stuffed into their back pockets.

The crowd seemed to run a large spectrum of gay (with heavy emphasis on the HK variety, of course). I actually ended up meeting a few readers of the Blog in person for the first time.

The bad news: they don't take credit cards. The good news: my Absolut Citrón and sprite was $7.

Then came the bar dancing. There was always someone on top of the bar dancing, kind of like a go-go, but fully clothed. And every so often, a bartending crew of 6 would do a choreographed number on the bar. The talent ranged from the classically-trained twink who was between shows to the slightly chubby guy whom you could almost see mouthing the counts (adorable!). But all of them looked like they were having a blast... at least when they kept their balance. The crowd really got into it!

image from flaming saddles facebook page

Calipornia described Flamers as "Classy Cleo's". For those of you who aren't old as dirt, Cleo's is the former name for 9th Avenue Saloon. They even have a jukebox in the corner!

I think this bar has potential to be around for a long time. I mean, you should have seen the half-block-long line outside when we left around 10! They got some good press for the opening, and plenty of people seemed curious about it on Facebook. The decor isn't particularly chic or trendy at all, but it's charming. As long as the staff embodies that charm (and the management isn't stupid), they'll do well.

One thing to note: I was told the coat check "isn't open yet" when I arrived. Not sure if it wasn't built yet or if they just thought 300 gays wouldn't need a place to put their fall jackets and bags, but it seems one will exist.

Did I mention that I'll definitely be back? Yeah.

Click here to check out the sluttiness that went down last time I blogged about 9th Avenue Salloon. 

Click here for Flamers' Facebook page. 
Click here for Flamers' Website.

Click here for TheMenEvent to sign up for party invites, theater discounts and so much more. 


Mike said...

Im a former New Yorker, back on a visit after living out of state. I got into this bar just fine with my friend when I initially went in, the guy checked my ID and 25. Well, I stepped out for a few minutes, and trying to get back in, I was denied saying my ID was damaged because it was fading around the edges...well, the police seem to have no issue with my id. Cell phone was dead so I had to wait for my friend to comeout to find me because the imbecil at the front door with his redneck wanna be carhartt vest wouldnt let me back in. Cut your damn nasty @$$ long hair and get a real job!
When I was in there, there was a minimal crowd. I wonder why? Hmmm...could it be possibly because of the @$$h0le staff that run the place, or the GOD-AWFUL BORING environment and music...the interior and the music playing reminds me of a sobby whiny kill-me country song...I could have fallen asleep in the place.
After this $h1th0le, we went to a really nice place just down the road called "Therapy", and it lives up to its name because the place is big, has an excellent upbeat environment, great music, staff are awesome, and the place doesnt make you wanna kill yourself. I highly recommend visiting Therapy @ 348 West 52nd Street  New York, NY 10019.
Mike WNorth Carolina

TheBlackoutBlog said...

 Ah, see. I've been back multiple times and never had a problem with the staff (quite the opposite). And I'm not a huge fan of Therapy after many times of being there. Different targets, I guess.