This Bar Can’t Make it Any Clearer Gays Aren’t Wanted


What to do if your karaoke bar, filled with screamers who think they’re Grammy-winning singers when they belt out lyrics to 90s college tracks, is mistaken for a gay nightspot? Put this sign up, apparently. That’s what Greg Quast did when his bar, The Elbo Room in Peoria, Illinois, got overrun with folks like us. Except there was no mistaking the bar’s clientele. Quast and his staff should’ve been used to it: Originally known as the Quench Room, the venue has always been known as a gay bar, even when ownership changed. “Although gay patrons continued to frequent the spot, tensions between them and the bar owner have boiled over recently concerning public displays of affection, according to the gay customers,” reports the Chicago Tribune. And after this sign went up? Protest.

In a flurry of forwarded Facebook, MySpace and text messages, a coalition quickly mobilized and dozens of gay rights supporters lined up last weekend outside The Elbo Room to express their outrage. The sign, they said, might as well have read, “Gays are not welcome here.”

“The sign was basically a sign of intolerance, and we’re not going to stand for it anymore,” said Stephanie Worlow, 27, one of the organizers of the protest that drew nearly 40 people. “It’s time that we as a community stand up for ourselves. We’re not going to stand for intolerance anymore.”

The group held three protests last weekend, one of which drew the attention of paintballers, who fired on the crowd. Police had no suspects in that attack.

[…]The bar owner, Greg Quast, could not be reached for comment. But he issued a statement apologizing for the sign, saying he’s taken action to ensure it does not happen again. Van Auken warned that it better not; the city has already notified him the sign violated state law.

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  • Mattbydesign

    My impression always was that gay money is just as green as straight money.

  • Bertie

    I guess gay doesnt play in Peoria.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)


    Obv people complained…

  • mb00

    ok fine, we don’t need to go to his bar. the owner will only hurt when he sees the difference in his pocket book when the gays stop showing up.

  • niles

    they still have karaoke bars?

  • Rob Moore

    @niles: LOL. That was my first thought too.

  • Alec

    @niles: Ugh, visit East or Southeast Asia sometime….

  • RainaWeather

    It’s a frickin karaoke bar for fuck’s sake!

  • epluribusunumjk

    Karoke bars can be fun.

    I used to live in Champaign, Illinois, and would oftentimes go to a local karoke bar with my boyfriend and a couple of friends. Maybe there was a little bit of voyeurism involved, but, mostly it was just because the typical gay bars weren’t really doing it for us anymore.

  • Geoff

    His place must be doing really really well for him to tell a portion of his customers to go elsewhere. His choice I guess. Karma would be buying the bar out from under him and then renaming it “Greg Quast Homo Lounge” or something.

  • Jaime

    I think he’s right on. I only wish to christ I could put up a sign telling all the hideous fucking straight people that come to my bar to gawk and “be down” to STAY THE FUCK OUT! I support this man and his decision.

    At the end of my day when I go for a cocktail or six I don’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of stupid drunk twats and their nervous boyfriends. Why should he have to deal with a bunch of shrieking queens in his?

  • Bitch, Please

    Here is a shot of tomato juice for my fellow queers to shake them out of their hangovers. Hatred towards a group can be so over-powering, that even paying customers, needed to keep a business open, can get kicked out. Have we forgotten the segregated South? And here is a gay example: A friend of mine, who supposedly looks “gay” (whatever that means), went to a store in Manhattan, NY (supposedly a bastion of gay acceptance) and was told by the owner that they did not want “pipe cleaners”, like him, in his store! My friend, a gentle soul, left without making a scene. I was furious and went back with my friend and confronted the asshole. The motherfucker called the cops on us! Long story short–as much as we would like to think that we can control the hatred by witholding money, forget about it! Hatred runs deeper, those ass wipes could care less!

  • damon459

    Why not just stop going in the bar owner doesn’t want us there why do we insist we must force ourselves on them it won’t make anything easier for anyone and it doesn’t stop him from hating us stop going stop giving him your money. I’m glad they protested his sign but I see no reason to continue drinking there I sure wouldn’t. Here in montana aka hickville we have a “gay” friendly bar run buy people who hate us yet some in the community would rather go there out of habit then go to a bar owned and operated by a local gay man what’s up with that? I will never understand the gay community as a whole we can’t agree on one thing not one.

  • TANK

    There’s nothing to understand…at all.

    Anyway, these douchers shouldn’t be getting gay and lesbian business, and everyone who goes there should be made aware of the kinda bigots what run it.

  • Phoenix

    @ Jaime,

    Ahem, the Elbo Room was a gay bar before it’s currant owner, Greg Quast, bought it. Quast has been trying to dissuade queers from coming in ever since he took it over. Queers are probably his only patrons. What kind of moron buys a gay bar and then tries to get rid of his only clientele?

  • Brian Miller

    Long story short–as much as we would like to think that we can control the hatred by witholding money, forget about it! Hatred runs deeper, those ass wipes could care less!

    Then let them go broke in the recession and oppose bailing them out, and they’ll learn their lesson.

    Just look at how the California bigots went ballistic when they got called out right as the recession started, and their businesses began collapsing… a few repeat lessons in free market economics would do them a world of good.

  • Brian Miller

    Quast has been trying to dissuade queers from coming in ever since he took it over.

    Let him have his wish. Let him go under.

    The fewer idiots out there with cash, the better. Perhaps after a trip to bankruptcy court and losing everything, he’ll reconsider his views.

  • Nick

    The bar owner is entitled to making it a straight karaoke bar. It’s his business. There are far more diplomatic ways of doing it, like advertising it directly to the specific target demographic.

    This sign is deliberately designed to make people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, and is likely to offend people, both straight and gay, who might otherwise enjoy the place.

    The owner’s a dumbass.

Comments are closed.