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Belly Up

Le Boi Bar gives ‘open stage’ a new meaning

6/11/2014

Open stage night at Le Boi Bar.

Open stage night at Le Boi Bar.

When the suggestion came to visit a gay bar for this week’s Belly Up, my first reaction was akin to the first words of Matthew McConaughey’s famous Oscar acceptance speech: “All right, all right, all right!”

I’d never been to a gay bar before, never seen a drag queen up close, but I knew it was going to be a fun time. And I was right.

After accidentally driving past the nondescript bar and searching the South Side for this mystery club while my best friend Googled directions, I was about to give up and go to bed — after all, I did have to work the next morning.

But then we saw the pink neon sign for Le Boi Bar. We walked in to find flashing lights, blaring club music and some very big hair all around us. In just a few short minutes, I completely forgot I was there on assignment.

We bought our drinks (doubles for the price of singles, every Thursday) and found seats near the back to look on as sequined performers strutted to Lady Gaga, Cher and even Adele. Is it possible to strut to Adele? The answer is yes, and in studded heels, as part of Le Boi’s Open Stage Night.

I quickly realized we needed to be up in the middle of the action if we wanted to get the real experience, so we saddled up next to a group on the edge of the stage. I asked one of the guys if he came to the bar often. “Too much,” he said. “And I’m never sober.”

Dressed in anything from prom gowns to leather corsets, they worked the stage and flaunted their “flawless” and “fierce” attitudes in a way that would make Beyonce proud. And it was clear to see the Queen Bey holds dear to the hearts of Le Boi patrons, as her music videos were displayed on every TV.

The bar was already bustling at 10:30 p.m., but it only filled up more as the night went on. Le Boi’s eccentric, happy atmosphere keeps people dancing, cheering and drinking all night.

Some dancers were better than others, and you’ll see that in any open stage night, but my friend and I had the same reaction to all of them: they can sure move in heels better than we can.

Especially the local star and director of Open Stage Night, Tyona Diamond, winner of the 2011 Miss Le Boi beauty pageant and voter’s choice for best of Des Moines Drag since 2012. When she danced to Cher’s “Woman’s World,” even the stars of “Burlesque” (Cher included) would have been impressed.

Le Boi Bar was established in 2010 as a place to offer something for everyone. Like nightly specials and free drinks? Drag shows on the weekend? How about good music, flashing lights and friendly people? This is the place for you. And, if for no other reason, come in to support all these gorgeous men and women who have the courage to dance on that stage. CV

Le Boi
508 Indianola Ave.
HOURS: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Wed.-Sat. Every other Sunday 8 p.m..-.2 a.m. Drag show every Fri. and Sat. at 11 p.m.

Barmuda