Night Review: Bar at 316

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OK, I'll just be honest. I'm probably not going to be a regular at Bar at 316, located off Rensselaer Avenue near Owen's Bagel on South Boulevard. It's not that I had a bad experience at last night's soft opening ... not in the least. It's just that, well, considering the fact that a good number of the patrons who will frequent Bar at 316 are beautiful gay men, I know I'm not going to get a lot of attention. And I like getting attention from the opposite sex.

But back to the soft opening.

The owners of Bar at 316 have done a BEAUTIFUL job of revamping the old Liaisons, which was housed in an old, run-down pink house. Great news: The pink paint on the outside is all gone. Yay! Inside, the décor has been updated to match that of a modern lounge — little teacup lights shine down on the bartenders upstairs as they swing drinks, while paper lamps stand in the corners of the rooms. The bars have been transformed to granite countertops, a very classy upgrade. Overall, the place has a very warm, cozy feel, with candles flickering away on the tables, comfy couches in each room and contemporary art hanging on the walls. All I'm going to say is, make sure you check out the all-white sculpture of a deer head hanging up on the wall in one of the rooms downstairs. Wowzers.

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The other thing that caught my eye was the vending machine filled with snacks in one corner of the upstairs bar. I just kept looking at it ... it seemed so out of place. Here I am, sipping on a mixed drink — am I really going to have a sudden craving for some Doritos?

Bar at 316 is non-smoking, but patrons can easily step outside on one of the balconies. The smoking ban goes into effect in January, but it was super nice to be able to leave a bar without my jacket reeking of cigarettes.

Overall, I think the gay community is going to embrace Bar at 316 with open arms. The owners have stressed, though, that they want their place to not only be gay-friendly but also hetero-friendly. And I heard more than one guy say he'll be bringing all his straight friends to the spot, especially this weekend when Bat at 316 hosts its grand opening. You should definitely check it out.

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