NINE years ago two friends went out on a limb and set up Ttonic’s first night devoted to Sunderland’s gay community.
Fast forward almost a decade and the city now has a thriving gay scene on Tuesday nights, or TuesGay as it’s become affectionately known, with a host of bars celebrating drinkers’ diversity.
Drag artist Trixie and DJ Teapot are still at the helm of their original Crisco Disco night in Ttonic and they love every minute of it.
“We had no idea nine years ago that it would have lasted this long,” said Trixie. “We wanted there to be somewhere where the gay community could go on a Tuesday night.
“There had been a night at the City Tavern before but it was quite provincial. There had always been an undercurrent of a gay scene in the community but nothing in your face so we decided to go hell for leather and go for it.
“It got to the point where we were so busy on a Tuesday that other bars opened up on Tuesdays too.”
Capitalising on the pink pound, other bars followed suit and pubs including Miss D’s, Arizona, Gatsbys, and Lola’s are all part of the route on Tuesday night. With a rare day off last Wednesday, I went out with pal Helen in tow last Tuesday night and we had a whale of a time.
The music was gloriously cheesy and the drinks were bargain basement prices.
Trixie said: “We always start off the night with cheesy music before more dance tracks toward the end of the night. We do one, two, three offers on a vodka and a mixer where it’s £1 for a single, £2 for a double and so on.
“We also have pints for £2 and cocktails for £1.50. We’re a bit quiet at the minute as the students are away but it soon picks up once they’re back. If you’re not gay or gay-friendly, there’s no point going out on a Tuesday.”
The night has also helped to pave the way for Sunderland’s first Gay Pride parade and festival which took place last year.
This year’s Sunderland Pride, which takes place on September 23, is set to be even bigger and better with a parade through the city followed by entertainment in Park Lane from local singer Sam Dickinson, Jade Saunders performing as Jessie J, and tribute acts Totally Gaga and The Steps Experience among others.
Ttonic will host a pre-Pride party on Tuesday, September 18.