There is no place like home, and in Kelowna for the queer community and its allies, that place is the Friends with Dorothy Lounge.
The local lounge opened in January of this year and now the team behind the queen space is taking the yellow brick road all the way to Victoria.
Opening in mid-December, the Kelowna-based lounge will open its second location at 537 Johnson Street in Victoria, and feature local wine, craft beer, spirits as well as a seasonally rotating menu.
Owner Rudy Tomazic wanted to bring an inclusive environment to the Island where popular Kelowna favourites of casual cocktails and drag brunch can be shared with the residents of Victoria.
Friends with Dorothy was named after the historical term ‘friend of Dorothy’, a euphemistic way to discreetly ‘out’ oneself without fear of violence or discrimination.
Despite opening two months before the pandemic shut down businesses around the province, Friends with Dorothy managed to survive and thrive once it was able to reopen thanks to dedicated patrons.
“We adapted our business model and were able to grow and flourish while complying with COVID-19 public health guidelines, and we’re so grateful to all the patrons who continue to support us,” said Tomazic.
The Victoria location is described as punk chic meets Louis XIV, set in a historic 140-year-old building.
According to Tomazic, the Victoria lounge was planned following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidelines, including reduced seating, enforced seating capacity, wearing of masks, and physical barriers between tables. The lounge plans to offer drag performances from local talent, live music, comedy shows, and live streaming events (such as QUSIC) following provincial health requirements.
Unlike the Kelowna location, which is a 19-and-older establishment, Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Victoria will welcome people of all ages due to different licensing.
“Parents are more engaged with their children now about queerness; we hope families of all types will join us to dine and for the live entertainment,” explained Tomazic.