For those accustomed to finding and relishing in unintentional camp -- the faux-Family Robinson tiki motif at a certain downtown nightclub, the metal donkey sculpture in the median of Pikes Peak Avenue, and those fantastic holiday decorations on Tejon -- you might be surprised to know that high camp is being effectively and deliberately pursued on, of all places, North Academy Boulevard.
Tucked amid the chain restaurants, the carpet wholesalers and the soulless sprawl of endless strip malls is what may become the rainbow-colored gem of the East Side: Club Q, Colorado Springs' newest offering to the gay and lesbian club scene.
Club Q, which celebrated its grand opening last weekend, is the result of 14 months of market research by Ken Romines, one of six co-owners, who polled extensively in the gay community and toured clubs across the country in order to effectively provide a club that would please a wide clientele.
Because of this, the club strikes out at a different niche market than either of the two existing gay clubs in the Springs. With a no-smoking policy, more upscale martini and food selections, no cover charge, and the presence of live entertainment, Romines hopes to avoid direct competition with either the Hide N' Seek or the Bijou Grill.
Every night offers a different theme in terms of entertainment. Disc jockeys perform on weekends, yes, but the club also hosts karaoke, comedians, amateur strippers, "Sex in the City" and "Queer as Folk" viewings and other events. Last Sunday night, for instance, Romines was decked out in a '60s-era lace cravat in order to host the club's version of "The Newlywed Game." Also present was Miss Richfield 1981, the singularly delightful drag queen emcee, for their grand opening (who will return for their New Year's bash).
For the grand opening, balloons and brightly colored tablecloths dominated the scene. A dance floor sits squarely in the middle of the club and is counterpoised by a handsome backlit glass bar. The club is entirely nonsmoking, but chimneys (like myself) are provided a pleasant, heated patio.
Club Q's bar menu is simple but fun, with a decided streak of camp: Squeeze My Olives, Pull My Pork Sandwich, Nice Basket (of Fries), The Grill and Lube sandwich and the like. The specialty martini menu is similarly campy (but fantastic, as we eagerly determined). An entree menu (available until 10 p.m.) offers pizzas, lasagna, a cordon bleu and other more substantial dishes.
To ensure the longevity of the club, its owners have developed an unusual business structure for a nightclub. A board of directors from the community holds sway, and shares for the corporation were offered for sale to the general public.
As Romines explained, the community and club patrons will have a vested interest in its success and will help ensure that the club sticks around. In fact, ambitious plans for expansion are already in place, and the building was selected in part because of the neighboring vacant lot. "We're here to stay," Romines said.
-- Aaron Retka
3430 North Academy Blvd
Open seven days a week at 4 p.m.
Never a cover