Columbia's alternative gay bar, club to relocate downtown

Thursday, August 2, 2012 | 1:43 p.m. CDT; updated 10:37 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 3, 2012

*Soco Club is Columbia's oldest alternative bar and club. An earlier version of this story misstated the club's history.

COLUMBIA — Columbia's oldest alternative bar and club* for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community will be moving to a new home downtown this September.  

"We're very excited to bring SoCo Club to Columbia's prime business district," club owner and general manager Marty Newman said in a recent press release. 

SoCo Club will relocate to the former home of the Forge and Vine restaurant on 119 S. Seventh St., according to the club's press release. SoCo first opened its doors at its current location, 128 E. Nifong Blvd., on Dec. 30, 1999, and celebrated its 12th anniversary last year. 

The club's new location will include a dance floor with a stage, a lounge area, a main stage room, a large outdoor patio area and multiple bars, including an outdoor bar. According to the club's website, the current location is limited to two bars, a lounge and a dance floor. The lounge was added in 2009, Newman said.

"Having these distinct, separate areas will give patrons the opportunity to enjoy multiple experiences, including multiple entertainment options, all within the same venue," Newman said in the press release.

Newman plans to take advantage of the new location by introducing new events and scheduling options. 

The 18-and-over club is most known for "Divas by Design," a Thursday night drag show hosted by longtime hostess Aieta Buffet. SoCo Club offers three other drag shows — "Babes in Boyland" on Saturdays, "Cabaret Mondays" on the first and third Mondays of the month and, most recently, "New Beginnings" on the first and fourth Fridays.

Other club events include karaoke, Smarty Pants Trivia, Ladies' Night, Columbia Industrial Night and an underwear party the last Friday of every month. 

SoCo Club hosted Miss Gay Missouri, America, an official preliminary to the prestigious Miss Gay America pageant, for the first time in Columbia in 2011 and again this spring. 

The clubs hours are Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Supervising editor is Dan Burley.

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Karen Mitchell August 2, 2012 | 2:51 p.m.

This is exciting news, making the club more accessible. I also didn't know about all the different events/activities there. Good luck, SoCo. Columbia needs you.

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice August 2, 2012 | 3:22 p.m.

There have been gay bars in CoMo since waaaayyy before 1999. SoCo is great, don't get me wrong, but what a bizarre idea.

(Report Comment)
Robert Stinnett August 3, 2012 | 1:00 p.m.

There were gay bars in COMO when I first came here in 1992, and SoCo is nice, but it's mostly for the younger college crowd, and not as diverse as I personally would like to see - now that it's downtown I suspect it will be even more college crowd oriented. Good luck and best of wishes in your new location, though!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 3, 2012 | 4:04 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ellis Smith August 3, 2012 | 4:34 p.m.

Now that our flagship campus has joined the SEC, persons of homosexual persuasion will henceforth be referred to as "homosexy'all. BTW, take the "l" out of "flagship" and what do you have remaining? (Let's see if this post gets scrubbed. I'm overdue for one.)

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin August 3, 2012 | 5:50 p.m.

Ray say "...just the free advertising the Missourian decided to publish above..."

I disagree with this characterization. As far as I can tell, this is a scoop. The Missourian beat Jacob Barker (Trib) to it, and I'd have reported it if I knew about it.

There's another story in this, and that's what's going to happen to the long empty Forge and Vine (FV) building.

The FV was a favorite place for the City Manager and the bankers and ol' Hank to gather and plot after work. They had a fave table up near the front, in a corner. My wife and I used to wave at them as we sat down for a glass of vine. Rumor has it Garagezilla was hatched at the FV.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 5, 2012 | 6:02 a.m.


I believe I read Ray Shapiro's now-removed comment before it ws removed. I fail to see where it was more objectionable than my comment, which followed it, and I said in my comment that I expected my comment might be removed.

Do I WANT my comment removed? It makes no difference to me; I'm trying to better understand how the system works. Was it because Shapiro's comment was deemed to be serious while mine was made in jest?

(Report Comment)

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