When gay-friendly straight couple Chris Barnes and Jacqui Squatriglia opened Flaming Saddles in West Hollywood back in January, they offered an alternative to the usual spaces full of shirtless boys dancing to the same pop-diva remixes: a cowboy saloon in the heart of Boystown. Much like the original Hell's Kitchen bar of the same name, this West Coast iteration features down-home hospitality, a jukebox chock full of country and Western ditties, and good ol' boys line-dancing across the bar. It's a queer Coyote Ugly, catering to an oft-neglected niche within LGBT nightlife. “I don't know if Nashville knows, but it's a lot more gay then they are willing to admit,” Barnes said in an interview before January's grand opening, which featured a performance by recently out country singer Billy Gilman. Now closet cowboys can shit-kick to Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood without moseying out of the comfort of their own gayborhood.
Credit: Michael Ciriaco