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Strut Bar and Club, new Orange County gay bar, to open in Costa Mesa

Strut Bar and Club

Strut Bar and Club, Orange County’s latest queer venue, will be a glittering space with a ceiling of disco balls and plenty of neon. Photo: Strut Bar and Club.

Strut Bar and Club, the latest queer venue in Orange County, will be a glittering space with a ceiling of disco balls and plenty of neon.

Strut Bar and Club

It will be “a playground for colorful queers, fabulous ladies and every self expression in between,” according to a press release about the Costa Mesa-based bar and club.

Strut will have its grand opening Friday.

The building, at 719 West 19th Street, will probably look familiar to some nightlife denizens. It was home to the gay bar Lion’s Den, which closed in 2015. Outside of LGBTQ nightlife, the space was most recently, a speakeasy-style lounge, Holiday that closed last year.

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Desert of queer spaces

Strut wants to fill the desert of queer spaces in Orange County, Luke Nero, founder and CEO, said in the release.

“At Strut, we want to give guests unique experiences from the moment they step through our doors,” Nero said. “We are an all inclusive playground for colorful queers, fabulous ladies and every form of self-expression in between, an escape from the outside world — if only for a night.”

Strut Bar Luke Nero

About Strut Bar and Club, Orange County’s latest queer space, owner Luke Nero says: “We are an all inclusive playground for colorful queers, fabulous ladies and every form of self-expression in between, an escape from the outside world — if only for a night.” Photo: Strut Bar and Club.

Strut Bar

The venue will offer two distinct nostalgia-driven experiences under one roof.

Strut Bar will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a menu of bites and a selection of “elevated, flirtatious cocktails.”

For example, the Miss Vanjie is a spicy and fruity drink with tequila, watermelon, birds eye chilis, lime, agave that’s a tribute to the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star. The Banana Boy has tequila, banana liqueur, and a suggestive garnish.

The Cucumber Smash is made with vodka, cucumber, mint, lime, and syrup.

“To complement the aesthetic of Strut, we knew our cocktail menu had to be really over-the-top visually,” said Aaron Reid, director of operations. “More than that, each cocktail is a true reflection of the freshest Southern California flavors, elevated with quality ingredients. The playful names and picture-perfect garnishes are the cherry on top.”

Strut Club

Adjacent to the bar, with a separate entrance and a paneled wall offering the ability to merge the two venues, Strut Club will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The club will feature themed nights, Sunday drag brunch, and DJs. The club also will be available for private bookings from Sunday to Thursday.

“Strut has the vibe of an old-school discotech, but with modern music,” Nero said. “The experience will be ever evolving and offer guests the very best in cocktail culture, visual production and musical entertainment right in our Orange County backyard.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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