Duluth, Minnesota Gets First Gay Bar


The Duluth News Tribune reports:

“No one ever had the gumption to do it before,” Nelson said. “But Duluth has changed in the last few (mayoral) administrations. A lot has changed in Duluth.”

People in general are more open-minded today, they say. So the two men, who have owned and operated the Flame Nightclub on Tower Avenue in Superior for six years, opened a Duluth version July 29 at 22-28 N. First Ave. W. in downtown Duluth Duluth Mayor Don Ness is supportive.

“I’d like to think that as a community we are beyond making an issue of whether or not it’s a gay bar,” Ness said. “It just seems like a very old-fashioned debate. Of course we welcome this business to Duluth.”

Not a big deal in major cities, gay bars can have profound impact elsewhere:

Pride and American flags are displayed. And flat-screen TVs play sporting events, music videos or shadow dancing. But those who might be uncomfortable seeing two men dancing or holding hands probably should take a pass, the owners say. Gary Boelhower, a gay activist in Duluth, is delighted there’s a club in Duluth for the GLBT community.

“Many GLBT people still in our society feel sometimes excluded,” he said. “We certainly are still excluded in regards to legislative recognition in several ways within our state and country. It’s important to have spaces where the gay and lesbian community can feel safe and accepted. And I think having the Flame Nightclub helps that process.”


  1. chris says

    Technically, the headline is true but it’s worth pointing out that Duluth and Superior are, basically, twin cities (they’re referred to as the Twin Ports), so it’s not like it was any great trip for Duluth residents to head to Superior.

  2. Butch says

    Moved back to the Upper Midwest last year after several years absence and was surprised at how many bars had gone under while I was away. Duluth is too far away to help, but good on them.

  3. Stefan says

    If you guys are ever in Duluth go check it out. It’s seriously the best nightclub town.

    I’m also proud to say that I will be a door guy at The Flame starting this weekend!!!

  4. "The Gay" says

    It’s just a bar, people act like it’s such a big deal, like the fist church in the area. It’s a place people go to get drunk and try to find someone to scrw. Big deal.

  5. Crizdog says

    Awesome news. I wish it was open when I was going to college in Duluth. Superior has had a handful of gay bars for a long time, but that drive over the bridge was never fun.

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