With the opening of G Spot Bar earlier this month, a trend on Wilton Drive shows no sign of slowing: businesses with colorful and double entendre names.
It’s something that goes all the way back to at least the opening of Alibi in 1997, said Anthony LoGrande. Gay-owned businesses here, he said, have always had some kind of hidden meaning behind their names. LoGrande said couples living together, who had not come out to their friends and family, would use the second “alibi” room as a way to make others think they were roommates.
LoGrande, who owns the Zig Zag Building on Wilton Drive and a business consulting firm, said a provocative name can be a benefit and a risk. It can garner a lot of attention but also turn off some people. “I don’t think it’s good or bad. It is what it is,” LoGrande said.
In 2014, one resident claimed the names of some businesses felt exclusionary to many people in the straight community. In an anonymous letter published by the now defunct newspaper The Islander, the “45-year resident of Wilton Manors” and “long-time registered Democrat” anonymously wrote that the names of some gay-owned businesses were offensive and vulgar.
“There still ARE heterosexual residents living here, and we DON'T find establishments named "Gaysha," "Gay Mart" and "Rock Hard" inclusive... at all. Do we not care what goes on a 20 foot neon sign that our children see every day when passing by on the school bus? Do we want Wilton Drive to become Times Square, circa 1982?” reads the letter. “Our elected officials MAY think that they have the upper hand and can change a city by allowing these subjectively named businesses to exist, but there are overwhelmingly large factions that are more than ready to present an opposing point of view. Would I be able to get an occupational license if I tried to open a "Hetero Burger"? What about "Strait Mart"? Would we be able to pass the city sign test? Doubtful.”
Commissioner Julie Carson said she doesn’t want to legislate business names but she feels that G Spot and some others, including Ballz, which closed and was operating where G Spot Bar is now located, are names chosen “in poor taste,” are “poor businesses decisions” and more sensitive names should be chosen. “It’s not offensive to me but I think there are sensitivities the public has that should be honored. When you name something like that, you alienate a group of the community.”
Lisette Gomez, co-owner of G Spot Bar, said she hasn’t gotten a lot of backlash on the name but she realizes how it can be taken offensively by some. She said that when she was coming up with the name she was only looking for something “catchy” and that the first letter of her last name helped influence her decision.
To make the name more palatable, she said her permanent sign, when it arrives, will read G Bar. The temporary banner up now also reads G Bar with a little splashy dot in the middle which signifies the “Spot.” Her bar’s shirts though will still read G Spot Bar.
Before Humpy’s closed, Wilton Manors resident Randy McCafferty said he always got a chuckle out of telling his friend visiting from out of town that he was going to “Humpy’s.”
“I’m not gay but I’m still not offended. It’s a nice, colorful, artsy area,” he said. “The names sort of seem to fit.”
Wilton Manors resident Rodger Helt said he’s never really thought much about the names. “I think it’s OK. People are always using puns to get businesses to work.”