- 23 Jun 21
Street 66 will be opening onto a pedestrianised Parliament street after 6:30pm from Friday to Sunday, with seating for 200 people to celebrate Pride in the area.
LGBT bars in Dublin city centre have welcomed back their loyal patrons just in time for Pride month, making sure to utilise their outdoor dining space to the best of their ability.
However, iconic venues within the location - Street 66, for one - have reported feeling anxious due to the increase in antisocial behaviour nearby.
On June 14th, Pantibar on Capel Street was defaced with homophobic graffiti painted on the Etsy building two doors down with an arrow pointed towards the venue.
Drag performer and bar owner Rory O'Neill (Panti Bliss) shared the disappointing news on Twitter, telling followers the incident was "planned and premeditated, rather than a spur of the moment thing".
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) June 14, 2021
Owner of Street 66 Siobhán Conmy commented to Hot Press today that antisocial behaviour in town over the past few weeks has left her feeling "on edge".
"I am on alert all the time," she said. "You'd nearly be paranoid to see any youth. It's only a small minority of people that are causing all the problems, but if you see groups of three young people walking down the street you're kind of going, "Oh sugar, what's going on?"
The bar owner said that businesses on Parliament street have come together to refuse to serve takeaway drinks in the area in response to recent events.
Comny also reported that in the past year, and especially since Street 66 reopened, she has noticed an upsurge of people using derogatory language when walking past the bar or when she's holding hands with her own partner in the street.
When asked if she thinks the attack against Pantibar was a reflection of how Dublin city treats the LGBTQI+ community, Comny said that despite believing Ireland has come a long way in terms of accepting the community, we still have a long way to go.
"When you feel so comfortable in your sexuality and you're walking down the street and you think everything is cool, then it breeds a bit of hostility and it causes different phobias," she said.
"We still need pride and we need our safe spaces and unfortunately I think it's going to be a long time before the LGBT community will be treated equally."
Manager of The George, Darragh Flynn, said that the attitude towards the LGBTQI+ community has improved year after year, with no reports of any antisocial behaviour against the venue since reopening.
The popular gay nightclub was vandalised with homophobic statements and Nazi swatiskas in May 2017, with a 24-year-old man arrested in connection to the upsetting event. Eoin Berkeley from Finglas pleaded not guilty to causing criminal damage with chalk graffiti on the facade and panels at The George in the city centre.
Despite allegedly admitting the crime to gardaí, he was granted a dismissal following a number of technical arguments made by defence solicitor Tony Collier. The lawyer contended that the case had to be thrown out due to gaps in evidence such as the lack of CCTV evidence as well as the absence of a Garda witness who authorised an interview when Berkeley allegedly owned up.
A spokesperson for Dublin Pride, Christelle Gebhardt, said today that whilst the organisation condemn the attack against Pantibar, they were proud to see the LGBTQI+ community and allies come together to support the venue in the wake of the incident.
"We also want to commend Dublin Town and Etsy for responding quickly and removing the graffiti. It's important to remember that the actions of one do not reflect the actions of many. While there is still a lot more to be done, we believe that Dublin City is generally welcoming towards members of the LGBTQ+ community," she added.
Dublin City Council in partnership with Dublin Pride recently painted a "rainbow walk," on Capel Street just outside Pantibar, with plans to paint more in other locations in the city.
.@LordMayorDublin @hazechu alongside @PantiBliss @eddiemcguinness aka Mr. Pride, & Christelle Gebhardt @DublinPride trying out our new Rainbow Walk on Capel St. 😍 Drop by over the weekend & take a look! 🏳️🌈🌈 #Pride #TheBeatles pic.twitter.com/aAbig2FVsA
— Dublin City Council (@DubCityCouncil) June 18, 2021