Belonging and accessibility are two aspects of the Adelaide bar scene that many people had taken for granted.
Kate Toone and Rachel Hosking wanted to change this. And they have!
Their bar brainchild, My Lover Cindi, was birthed from a shared frustration at the lack of an inclusive, queer night space in the city.
With Toone being a social worker and researcher (moonlighting as a part bar owner), she knows the importance of giving the marginalised a place to call home.
“We have friends with physical disabilities who aren’t even able to enter venues and, once inside, can’t even comfortably use the bathrooms due to a lack of access,” Toone said.
“My Lover Cindi is a place that’s safe for the LGBTQIA+ community to have fun and party and be comfortable.”
It was clear that Adelaide craved a spot like Cindi’s.
On opening night, they reached capacity with over 100 people still waiting to get in.
Queer bars have long been at the heart of the LGBTQIA+ community, as a place where all people can truly feel comfortable being themselves.
“We believe in the important role that bars and nightclubs play for queers of all ages, especially younger people who are looking to connect with others and discover themselves,” Toone said.
While Adelaide has made progress in the last few years, shaking off its conservative shackles, there’s still a fair way to go.
“We have the oldest sex work laws in the country and have only just abolished the ‘gay panic’ defence last year – the last state in the country to do so,” Toone said.
“This could explain Adelaide’s tendency to lose young professionals to the eastern states, which keeps the politics, policies, and culture pretty conservative.”
The pair are hopeful to see how the pandemic shapes migration patterns to the state, particularly those coming from Melbourne after extended lockdowns.
Adelaide also must double down its own efforts to attract people back into the city, which could be the much-needed jolt for nightlife.
Toone believes this is a pivotal time to leverage young migrants from interstate and overseas, while simultaneously addressing the archaic laws that keep Adelaide shackled by its past.
With an already thriving arts scene, one of the largest queer celebrations in the country, the Feast Festival, and more people from the LGBTQIA+ community returning home, there’s a lot to be excited about.
Every Friday and Saturday, Adelaide’s queers dance the night away in My Lover Cindi – shaking off that narrow-mindedness and dreaming up a whole new possibility for the city.
Leave it to the gays to shake up a revolution.