We came for the lingerie contest but stayed for the chilled vibe at Kiki, one of a few tantalizing newcomers to DC’s LGBTQ bar scene.
That night the heavy beats and mixes of DJ Derrick Johnson, aka DJ DJ, kept us on the dance floor which, as it was still early in the evening, might not have been as crowded as we had seen on a Sunday night before a few weeks.
But by the time hostess Crystal Edge showed up, a busy, diverse crowd had materialized and the night was filled with opportunity.
Featuring two dance floors, two bars and a rear deck for now, the two-story Shaw-area hotspot offers an ideal place to meet or mingle, drink and dance, or just soak up the energy of the U Street gang.
“That’s what this whole vibe of Kiki is all about — trying new things, having good people around us, good vibes, pretty much just being a good person,” says Keaton Fedak, the bar’s owner. “It’s kind of unofficial slogan: ‘Be a good person.’ Which is simple and easy.”
Fedak, longtime CEO of The Dirty Goose, the established gay bar next door, officially opened Kiki on January 1st. Fedak says.)
So the party was on, with a combination of weekly drag shows, the aforementioned lingerie contest, and four resident DJs – DJ Phil Reese, DJ Dez Jordan, DJ DJ and DJ Matt Bailer – keeping the crowd busy . Fedak, meanwhile, has his eye on expanding Kiki onto an adjacent property he’s renting next door.
“Eventually the fence dividing the back row lots will be torn down and we’ll have a beer garden out there, an outdoor bar, the upper decks are connected,” he says. “This building is the club feel of everything I wanted right now. And then the next building will be lounge area, beer garden and sports bar. So it’s a small place for everyone. Here you will always find your vibe.”
And Fedak doesn’t want that vibe to end at Kiki’s doorstep.
“The future plans for Kiki, and I’ve said this in all of my interviews with my staff, is that I hope to create a gay neighborhood on U Street by having these two buildings next to the Dirty Goose,” he says. “Just to really make it that DC gay Borhood vibe, because we need it.
“I was on a trip to Fort Lauderdale,” he continues, “and we took an Uber and there were about eight or 10 different gay bars and, ‘Okay, we had a drink here and we didn’t feel the vibe. Yes, let’s go to this one.’ And it was easy.
“You never looked over your shoulder or anything, never had to worry about stuff like that. Because you are in this little remote area that is just plain safe. I would really like to do that here.”
The Kiki Bar is located at 915 U St. NW. Visit www.dcwannahaveakiki.com.