comScore

St. Paul's getting a new gay bar

R Lounge comes from Travis Phillips, co-owner of Bar Zia in downtown Minneapolis, pictured here.

R Lounge comes from Travis Phillips, co-owner of Bar Zia in downtown Minneapolis, pictured here. Facebook: Bar Zia

Reactions were mixed following last month's news that Town House—St. Paul's 40-year-old LGBTQ+ bar and an all-around institution—would reopen as a soccer bar.

Under new owners, the rebranded Black Hart would remain "gay-friendly." But some saw it as a loss of a much-needed, explicitly queer space in the city.

Enter R Lounge, a new "lounge-style" gay bar that's headed for downtown St. Paul sometime this year.

Bar Zia co-owner Travis Phillips is behind the new place, a small spot that will have room for between 60 and 80, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports. Phillips is shooting for "an everybody-knows-your-name type of feel," he tells the Biz Journal, which suddenly has us hoping for a queer Cheers reboot. 

R Lounge will also boast a private event space, one that should serve up very good food. It's nestled near Keys Cafe & Bakery and Black Sheep Pizza (our 2018 Best Pizza pick), and Phillips says he's working with both to provide catering options. 

Meanwhile, Black Hart has opened up for a few World Cup matches, and will be up and running for Sunday's France vs. Croatia final, according to Twitter. Looks like they plan to continue hosting special events until the new owners take over at the end of the month.

Elsewhere in recent gay bar news: No, the 19 Bar isn't going anywhere; and hey, why are there so few lesbian bars?

R Lounge
132 10th St. E., St. Paul