GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local artist and performer is working to bring what’s believed to be the first dry bar and nightclub for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people to Grand Rapids.
Bux Dhyne, the person behind the effort, says the bar will be called Joule’s Molly House. The intent is to provide a sober space where the LGBTQ community – including youth and those in substance recovery – can partake in nightlife, dancing, performances, game nights, and open mic nights, all without alcohol.
“There’s a lot of people – not just in the LGBTQ community, but in the community overall – that struggle with addiction or alcoholism,” Dhyne said. “I noticed there was a gap kind of in our needs for a performance space and just kind of a queer-friendly space that doesn’t serve alcohol.”
Dhyne added that while there are a few great gay establishments in the city, there’s a need for more diverse spaces as the community grows.
“[In the LGBTQ community] we have a higher rate of homelessness, we have a higher rate of alcoholism, and a lot of that is just the way that the world has treated us and what’s happened in our community. I think having a spot where if you’re in recovery and you’re a drag queen, you don’t have to be with the alcohol (is needed). You have someplace that you can perform that’s a safe space that you don’t have those pressures with,” Dhyne said.
The plan is to open Joule’s Molly House 2022 with the help of the community. Now through Aug. 2, Dhyne will be working to raise $35,000 in donations that will be used to secure a lease agreement and location for the bar.
“I really want this to be something that’s for the community and happens because of the community, so I’m asking for donations and holding fundraisers. So it really is a community-based project,” Dhyne said.
Joule’s would operate Tuesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Before 9 p.m., the space would function as a coffee house environment where queer youth can study or play games and recovery groups can meet. After 9 p.m., the dry bar and nightclub will be open to ages 18 and older and feature a variety of entertainment and DJ dancing.
There will be a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, including espresso, coffee, tea, mocktails, bottled drinks, and pop, along with some snack foods. Preferred vendors will be Black, indigenous and other people of color, female, lesbian, gay, queer, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex, asexual and other non-cisgender individuals, and/or Michigan-owned businesses focused on sustainability.
If you’d like to support or learn more about Joule’s Molly House, visit https://www.patronicity.com/project/joules_molly_house or https://www.facebook.com/JoulesMollyHouse.