Oh, no. LA just found itself sans one great bar. My favorite lezzie bar, my favorite bar, bar none: after opening in 1993, The Normandie Room had its closing party on Friday night. According to this article, the owner chalks up the closure to a never-ending street construction project on Santa Monica that decreased foot traffic and the generally depressed/recessed economy. The sweet bar will be replaced by – natch – a boy’s bar called Gym. On behalf of lesbians everywhere, I am so, so sad.
To fully appreciate the space that The Norm occupied, one has to realize that most gay bars on the Westside are catered to gay men and that these gay bars usually, sweetly, have lesbian-themed nights only one day out of the week. Alas, for those of us who practice our lesbianism all seven days of the week, we have our pick of a very, very narrow set of full-time girl bars, all of which are obscene scenes and/or are quickly becoming heterosexualized (i.e., The Abbey).
The Norm didn’t start out as a full time lez bar (it’s motto was “No Homophobes, No Heterophobes, No Assholes”), but over time, we found a home in its deeply red walls, its cozy low-key ambience, and its generous pours. It was a welcome, laid back neighborhood spot where the point of one’s night was not necessarily to pick up a girl, but to pick up a drink and maybe a game of pool. There isn’t any other place like it – indeed, some places refuse to reside on this side of classy – and now, I’m at a loss as to where to go. Oh, Norm. I’ll miss you.