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April 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Bent – The Bloom Is Off The Ivy

Wellington mourns the loss of an iconic queer* venue. Club Ivy, Wellington’s rainbow nightclub since 2008, has officially closed its doors for the last time. Co-owner Greig Wilson and his team have long been loyal supporters of UniQ Victoria, and this announcement deeply saddens us. Where will we hold our annual Traffic Light Party now?! Seriously, though, that cramped room on the second floor at 13 Dixon Street has firmly cemented itself into the heart of queer* Wellington, and will be sorely missed.

Since November 2011, when it was announced that Ivy would shift premises early this year, rumours have abounded
that the club would be closing for good. This reporter also heard vague mumblings about a relocation to Forresters Lane, just off Tory Street . This announcement was met with marked disapproval, including concerns regarding the safety and reputation of the street in question. Given that at least five members of the GLBTQ community have been physically attacked in the last eighteen months while using well-lit main thoroughfares, this is a justified fear.

So why is Greig calling it quits on Ivy? In a recent press release, he tells us that he husband Leon Magowan-Wilson have ‘chosen to focus on other business opportunities’, it having been impossible to locate a space which would allow both Club Ivy and Terrace Bar to realise their full potential. UniQ Victoria hopes to maintain its working relationship with Greig and Leon and keep you updated throughout the year.

Venues like Ivy are a fundamental part of the rainbow community. They offer us the hope and friendship which often seem to elude us in the outside world. Events like UniQ’s Silver Anniversary Ball and Mr. Gay Wellington are excellent ways to spend an evening. What’s more, Ivy always knew how to attract a diverse crowd without excluding our straight allies. One of my best memories is from my first year at uni, when at least 15 people from my Hall of Residence—all genders and sexual identities—went to UniQ’s Pride Week Coming Out Party.

So we bid a fond farewell to Club Ivy. Goodbye, two flights of stairs. Goodbye, bar staff. Goodbye, round pool table. Until we meet again, please join me in raising a glass to one of the coolest little bars in the capital. Cheers, queers!


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  1. Jason says:

    The UniQ Traffic Light Party was always much better when it was held at a non-queer venue and the gays just took over. Sadly it hasn’t been quite the draw for a few years.

    Gay bars come and go, once the new one is up and running, you’ll wonder why you were mourning the loss of Ivy – it had nothing on the likes of Pound and Imerst. Plus you’ve got Aaron and Andy’s events keeping us entertained!

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