Opera Ultralounge launches LGBT* night where Club Desire once lived
The address of 441 Main Street is a place of nostalgia for members of the LGBT* community. The architecturally astonishing Imperial Bank of Canada building was home to Club Desire for about five years. The gay bar was so popular that it became a hotspot for straight club-goers, who eventually took over the scene before it closed in 2009. After a couple of short-lived nightclubs came and went, Opera Ultralounge opened in late 2011.
With all-white decor, large chandeliers, and a strict dress code, Opera originally targeted an older crowd. Ryan Wibawa, one of Opera’s six owners, said, “it was meant to be an ultralounge for people who would book booths and then spend on bottles and stuff.” When the owners didn’t think they had that clientele here, the dress code was eliminated to reach a larger audience.
Even though Opera was an LGBT*-friendly venue, the LGBT* community had not been specifically targeted. Being a part of the community himself, Wibawa decided it was time to expand. “We were only open three nights a week, so I told the management I was interested in opening a fourth night for the LGBT* community,” said Wibawa. He brought up the idea about a year ago, but Opera decided to wait until they were more established.
After Gio’s had closed, Wibawa thought it was the perfect time to introduce Taboo Thursdays at Opera. “I wanted to bring a new venue for the LGBT* community because Fame and Club 200 were the only ones. The community was complaining that they didn’t have other options,” said Wibawa. Taboo Thursdays kicked off in June and “feedback has been positive. So far, people are happy that they have another venue and atmosphere.”
– Graeme Coleman is the entertainment editor for OutWords.