In a nod to the forgotten days of yore, St. Louis now has its first members only lesbian bar. The Back Door has been in business unofficially since December of 2012, but had its grand opening on January 11th, 2013. It’s situated on a stretch of St. Charles Rock Road where you wouldn’t expect to find a lesbian bar. You pass the store with a huge cowboy mural on its side, you pass the Applebee’s sign with the burned out Ps (A lebee’s), you pass Ritneour High School. You start to wonder if you are in the correct place and then you see the glowing Bush sign attached to Old Timers Saloon. Teenagers are dancing at the bus stop as you pull into the dark parking lot. Make your way around to the back of the building where you will find a white door with stenciled on letters spelling “Back Door.” Anything could be behind that door, you think. Literally anything. You enter and are greeted by a woman who welcomes you back (you came once before).
The ambiance makes the bar feel like a cross between an old friend’s basement and a skating rink (they have carpeted pillars and the lower half of the bar is also covered in carpet). On the whiteboard you see all of the members’ January birthdays listed. At once it feels both charming and humorous.
This bar is only slightly outside of the city, though once you step in, you could be in any little town in the country. It immediately makes you think of the movie “Small Town Gay Bar.” In comparison to Novaks and the other bars in The Grove, this place definitely draws an older, more subdued crowd. Rather than getting drunk and going home with someone you just met, this seems like the type of place to develop friendships, throw some darts, and shoot the shit. However, there is a prominent dance floor with a disco ball, which feels like it could be foreshadowing things to come.
Just as St. Louis as a whole feels like an incubation space where the sky is the limit and you can sculpt things into whatever your heart desires, so too does The Back Door. I mean, depending on your timing you may even be able to create your ideal playlist of 20 songs, bring it up to the DJ, and giggle with your friend as you realize that this will now be what’s playing for the next 2 hours. The Back Door aims to please, starting with their free laminated membership cards and ending with the bathroom ashtrays.