Karma goes gay on Hump Day
If it looks like a gay bar, sounds like a gay bar and has a staff that could double as Chip-n-Dale dancers, it might as well cater to the gays.
Karma opened its doors on Wednesdays to offer a gay night. (Left) Greg Owen, a bartender, and Adam Yates, manager and brainchild of gay night.
At least that's what the people behind Karma were thinking when they held the bar's first 'gay night' on June 24.
The posh straight bar began welcoming the GLBT community with open arms, loud dance music and $2 well-vodka drinks last Wednesday. Manager Adam Yates said he hopes to establish a flourishing gay night to bring more gays downtown. About 60 people came to the debut event.
"We want to diversify downtown and give people other options besides Play and Church Street." Yates said. "People get tired of that and we want to cater to them."
Yates began brainstorming with his friend and former bartender Chris Haczyk and Karma owner Souri Chayavon in mid-June about reaching out to expand the bar's clientele. About a week later, Chayavon decided to open Karma's doors on Wednesday for their gay night. The bar previously was open only Thursday through Saturday.
Karma is tucked away on Broadway, next to Cadillac Ranch, with it's entrance on 3rd Ave.
The cozy space is packed with well-preened customers on weekends, but it isn't like most of the bars in the honky-tonk district of downtown.
The floors and bar tops are pristine, huge floral arrangements sit front-and-center atop shelves of liquor bottles and the entire scene offers a crushed velvet ambiance that glows red and pink from wall to wall.
DJ Ary Inthaluxay, one of a dying breed of turntable DJ's, spins a variety of music for the unique audience seamlessly melding the sounds of top 40, electronic, break beat and hip hop. His turn table technique provides a warm sound that winds through the lofty space while allowing for casual conversation.
DJ Ary Inthaluxay (left), seen with gay-night promoter Chris Haczyk, melds a variety of music on turntables.
While some people worry that straight bars only 'go gay' in order to dip into the collective GLBT pocket, Haczyk said Karma is led by a gay-friendly staff with good intentions.
“It wasn’t that the bar was in trouble and needed to bring in gay dollars,” Haczyk said. “They’re really busy, but wanted to expand their demographic and be inclusive of the GLBT community by offering something on Wednesday."
Haczyk, promoter of the weekly event along with his partner Anthony Moss, worked in the gay bar industry for more than six years. He said Karma's special weekly event is meant to offer variety to the gay community without directly competing with Nashville's staple gay bars.
"This isn't a competition with Nashville's gay bars," Haczyk said. "We don't have a drag show and we don't open until 10 p.m. We're just bringing people a new option for their Wednesday night."
Wynn, who is straight, said he often visits gay bars with his friends and that it's no different than gay people visiting straight bars.
"I have lots of gay friends and I go to Play (Dance Bar)," Yates said. "I'd never say 'The gays are taking my money,' when I'm spending it at a gay bar. This is just something new and fresh in a loud, open setting."