0177F: Our O Bar Family

It always amuses me when people ask whether or not Tobie and I are somehow stockholders in O Bar or something like that. And I can totally see why people would think that given how often we're there and much we've become advocates for the bar as a whole. Then you can factor in the fact that I take literally thousands of photos of the bar, the Oh Divas and other performers. It's crazy, but that's just what I do.

But Tobie and I are just customers at the end of the day - although we're the sort of customers who have invested a lot of time and effort into the bar and to get to know the people behind it. You can treat any business as just a business and you'll remain to be a customer. But when you take the time to get to know the staff and really get more involved on a personal level, then things are bound to change.

O Bar has been like that for us. Over the years we've made so many friends and we've become a lot more familiar with the staff. And of course we've built up a much more involved relationship with the Oh Divas. Between all the photos that I take, which they're free to use for their own promotional materials, and even Tobie's efforts to give advice every now and then on how to improve their performances, O Bar has really grown into becoming a sort of extended family for us. I've already spoken about how the bar is like a second home - and this obviously just expands on that concept.

And yes, we've gotten to know the owners a little better and we've done out best to express to them how much we're thankful for their efforts in keeping the bar alive over the years. Given how they run things, it's clear that O Bar is more than "just a business" to them. There's a lot of heart and sheer passion that goes into the way they manage the bar and try continually innovate new ways to keep it vibrant. And those efforts are certainly paying off then the many loyal "Obarians" who continue to patronize the bar and the fact that it has been called one of Manila's top nightspots. And I totally agree with the statement that the bar hosts some of the best drag queens in the country - it's definitely a known fact!

So yes, O Bar is more than just a place where Tobie and I go to hang out on the weekends. It's our gay home and the people there have become our extended family. And that's not a bad thing at all - not everyone can say that they have the same relationship with their preferred hangout place whether it's a bar or a restaurant or whatever. And so maybe this may help explain why Tobie and I are so passionate about the bar and why we always invite our friends (gay or straight) to join us at the bar. It's a great place and definitely a lot of fun and we just want to share our happiness with our friends.

And I love how O Bar has no pretensions about itself. They don't care if you go to O Bar one night, Bed and then some Big Fish event on another weekend. You're always free to come back when you want to and you'll still get the same warm reception as if it was your first time. All they want to is to create a safe space for the LGBT community in Manila.

So if you understand what I'm talking about, why not go a little further and show your love for the bar as well? Participate in their big "street party" style events commemorating LGBT Pride and Halloween among other events. Get to know the names of your waiters. Tip the Oh Divas when you really, really liked a particular song. Compliment the ledge dancers that you think are really hot. Party with the poi performers, especially when they go into the crowds. There are so many ways to become more than just an unknown customer standing as a wallflower in the background. Trust me, it'll make your O Bar nights all the better for it.


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