New ownership means changes for Gay 90s nightclub

The staple Twin Cities GLBT destination will undergo renovations beginning in May.

Tom Moran

Major renovations and a change in ownership are in the works for the Gay 90s nightclub – a staple in the Twin Cities gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and popular destination for University students – because an unidentified buyer recently entered the final stages of purchasing the club.

Robert Parker, general manager of the Gay 90s, said the buyer approached the owner of the bar, Michael Bloom, about three months ago with an interest to acquire the club.

He said he expects the sale to be final by April 29 and renovations inside and out could begin as early as May. The renovations and ownership switch won’t alter the club’s theme or environment, Parker said.

“The old girl is getting her jewels shined,” he said.

Each of the six bars and three dance floors inside could be renovated individually, Parker said, which might require some rooms to close temporarily, but the club as a whole will stay open.

Each room has its own premise, such as a techno-themed dance floor with strobe lights, a room with a large stage for drag shows with entertainers like Candy dancing to the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by the Four Seasons and the retro bar with vinyl records hanging from the ceiling.

Sara Tulchinsky celebrated her 21st birthday Sunday at the Gay 90s. She said she thought the club had a nice feel to it, but renovations would be an improvement.

“Does it look brand new? No, but it looks like it’s been lived in, it looks like people go there,” she said.

“The building is going to be vastly improved,” Parker said. “There’s going to be a lot of money put into the building.”

Parker said there are currently no specific designs for the renovations, but new carpeting might be installed in some rooms, fresh paint jobs might be applied and bathrooms could be improved.

Matt Hackman, a first-year dance student, said he doesn’t think the club is in need of an overhaul, but wouldn’t mind as long as the environment inside didn’t change. Hackman, who visits the club about twice a month, said the 18-plus nights and laid-back atmosphere bring him and many friends to the retro bar.

“We just like it up there. That’s kind of our hang-out spot for our whole group of friends,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re straight, you’re gay, you’re anything.”

He said he thought a new owner might be able to bring new life and fresh ideas to the club and improve it.

No stranger to change

The Gay 90s has undergone a number of changes under the current owner Bloom, Parker said.

He said when Bloom took over, the club had just two bars and, under his watch, the count has grown to as many as eight.

Parker said the transformations this time around would “bring the bar to 2008.”