During Super Bowl week, GaYbor will stay gay.
Members and friends of the GaYbor District Coalition, which unofficially governs Ybor City's gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses, say many GaYbor restaurants and clubs would have made prime locations for mainstream events, but venue owners are organizing parties targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender football fans instead.
"A lot of gays love football. So what we want to do is have a lot of people welcomed to Tampa Bay to come in and enjoy the football and also enjoy our atmosphere of a GLBT-friendly area," coalition president Carrie West said.
There will be no coalition-sanctioned events, but many GaYbor businesses will show the Super Bowl on Sunday. Streetcar Charlie's Bar and Grille on North 15th Street will air the event on its 120-inch projection screen and smaller TVs.
L'Olivier Cabaret, a French-themed restaurant and cabaret that will target gay and straight clients, is scheduled to open Jan. 24 to ensure it's in full swing by Super Bowl Sunday, said co-owner Olivier Cuevas. The Centro Ybor establishment will air the game on its four 55-inch flat screen TVs, during which women dressed as Can Can dancers and Vegas showgirls will circulate. Immediately after the game, the women will perform a cabaret dinner show.
"It will be amazing to start the show when people are in this incredible mood," Cuevas said.
G Bar, on East Seventh Avenue, will also tune in its 10 large-screen monitors. During and after Sunday's game, G Bar will host the Super Les Bowl, a party targeting women. Men will be allowed inside only if accompanied by a female. G Bar will also host a gay Super Bowl party the Saturday night before the Super Bowl.
G Bar owner Stephen Moss, who is vice president of the GaYbor District Coalition, encouraged members to stay true to their core patrons.
"(G Bar) serves the gay and lesbian community, so instead of using the venue for private events, we're keeping it open to the public as a gay and lesbian bar/nightclub," he said. Moss also owns Honey Pot, a mainstream club on East Seventh Avenue, which will host the Madden Bowl and two other mainstream parties.
GaYbor party organizers are promoting their events in magazines and online, including at myspace.com/gaybor.
More than half of the GaYbor District Coalition's 150 members are straight-owned businesses and nonprofits. West, the group's president, hopes even Ybor City's mainstream Super Bowl events — including Maxim magazine's party at the Ritz Ybor — will also bring attention to the gay community.
"The real nice part about (the Maxim Party) is they're going to have to go through GaYbor," West said, "because we have all the gay flags all up and down around Eighth Avenue, which goes next to the trolley."