Trunks Bar in Cathedral City will reopen this week and participate in the Open House Bar Tour, June 21-26, by the Cathedral City Gay Business Association.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE BARS
When California reopens completely on June 15 free of COVID restrictions, it will mark the first time Trunks Bar in Cathedral City will open its doors in more than a year.
A few days later, Trunks will be part of an Open House Bar Tour set to run June 21-26 featuring five Cathedral City gay bars. Organized by the Cathedral City Gay Business Association (CCGBA), the tour also coincides with National Gay Pride month celebrated in June.
Unlike their counterparts in Cathedral City, Trunks remained completely closed while the other bars were able to maintain first patio business and then limited capacity indoors by applying for a special permit that allowed the bar to operate as a restaurant due to a relationship with a nearby eatery.
“Some of the bars always had menus from other restaurants,” explains Antonio Lopez-Cochran, who owns Amp Sports Lounge and is also vice president of the CCGBA. “Fortunately, for example my bar, we have several restaurants around the location, so we always had menus in our bar and people were able to order food. Transition wasn't too hard for some of those bars.”
The tour will initially spotlight one bar a night with a designated happy hour from 6-8 p.m. starting with One Eleven Bar on June 21, followed in order by The Barracks, Trunks, The Runway, and Amp Sports Lounge. On June 26, all five bars will host a special happy hour from 6-8 p.m.
Lopez-Cochran spoke further with Palm Springs Life about the event and how gay bars have weathered the pandemic.
When did you first begin organizing this event?
We first started to talk about it in March and we’ve been meeting every other week since then. So myself, Richard Altman (owner of The Runway and president of CCGBA) along with Chris Parman, who is the LGTBQ liaison at the city of Cathedral City and event manager, discussed options for events after the restrictions were lifted. The team is always trying to come up with ideas to promote Cathedral City.
How does it feel to be able to schedule an event in the city after more than a year?
It's a great feeling being able to create an event, and actually go through with it. We had several events scheduled for 2020, and everything had to be canceled. I'm nervous about it, but excited at the same time.
Will there still be COVID precautions for the Open House Tour?
Yes, certainly, we all believe that we have to be safe. Temperatures are still being taken and masks are mandatory upon entry. At the AMP Sport Lounge patrons can be without a mask if they've been vaccinated while seated at the table. We do highly recommend that once guests are inside and stand up to walk around or go to the restroom that they wear their mask. Our staff will certainly be wearing masks all the time.
Do you have other events planned in the near future?
Yes, we do. As an organization, with this Open House Tour we really would like to welcome the community back to our businesses in Cathedral City. But it's also an opportunity for us as an association to invite other restaurants and bars in the city, along the 111 Catwalk, to join our organization.
We are planning an event we did a couple years ago called the Cat City Drag Race. It was a fundraiser for the Transgender Health and Wellness Center, as well as opportunities for people to come to each of our bars and participate in a drag contest.
How important is the gay community for Cathedral City?
I think it's very important. About 35 percent to 42 percent of the residents in Cathedral City are gay, or consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community. They are very important, their support means a lot to our businesses, as well as doing community service.