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Hamilton nightlife gets a makeover

Fri 15 Dec 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

As the Waikato's newest LGBT bar opened last night with a well-attended party, another LGBT nightclub owner makes an urgent plea for community support. ‘Venom', at 161 Victoria Street, features an outside smoking area, bar, lounge area, and dance floor with DJ equipment. Resident drag diva Miss Gloriousole, AKA Dennis Ralph, and guests provided entertainment on stage. Much of the decorations and furniture at Venom would be familiar to Aucklanders who frequented ‘Flesh', the Downtown Auckland nightclub which closed earlier this year. Partygoers seemed genuinely pleased with the new venue, located in the centre of Hamilton's nightlife hub - but some were concerned that the busy location would become a visible target for homophobia. Meanwhile, a few blocks away in Garden Place, ‘Glamz!' dinner cabaret was in full-swing. Seats at all the tables were full with patrons enjoying a show featuring drag queens, lingerie girls and live music. Owner Leone Dwyer says all the tables every night before Christmas are booked out. In nearby Frankton, the Next Door Bar, 10 High Sauna and the apartment above have been closed by Hamilton City Council since October. This has left manager Clive Brooker with no income and no place to live. Hamilton City Council's Environmental Services general manager Graeme Fleming says the council inspected the premises and found “a number of issues relating to fire safety and a number of other building issues which we've intimated to the owner have to be fixed. “We consider the conditions were fairly dangerous and we've asked the building to be vacated until those items have been fixed. It's a straightforward building issue, which needs to be upgraded to the standards which are acceptable.” Brooker is certain most of the issues can be satisfied by a few days' work, but needs community support. ”We will be working on the premises every day from now on,” he explains. “We're giving the bar an interim make-over as a precursor to the full refurbishment planned for the months after re-opening. If anyone is available in the early evenings to assist, come straight in to the carpark behind the building. ”If you want to show your support financially, donations are gratefully accepted, as bills don't go away just because the bar and sauna have. We are also selling bar tabs of $500 and up which will go towards the refurbishment programme. These tabs will carry a discount on standard bar prices, and demonstrate your belief in us and our future,” says Brooker.     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 15th December 2006 - 12:00pm

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