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Strut Your Stuff!

Luke Nero

by Jennifer Corday

Long Beach, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/23/19 – “It’s for everybody,” says Strut Bar & Club owner Luke Nero—who should clearly run for POTUS. If only our political parties could adopt this slogan, eh? In a world plagued with polarized viewpoints, Facebook cliques and LGBTQ+ niches (I think we all lost track of the + acronyms?), Strut simply decided their bar is for everyone. How forward thinking! How 2020! How brilliantly easy!

This is not your average gay bar. “We are not normal,” continues Nero, at the Media Soiree, which is answered with a roaring round of applause and cheers. Costa Mesa mayor Katrina Foley echoed his disdain for the “normal” by asking, “What is normal anymore these days?” Foley awarded Nero a certificate, calling Strut “the queerest of the queer bars in Orange County”—of which there are only four.

Indeed, the Strut decor screams queer by definition (strange, unusual, peculiar, bizarre), which makes it uber-cool even for the heteros. Who doesn’t appreciate feeling like a rock star on an average Friday night? A sophisticated doorman lets you through the velvet ropes before you walk through a giant neon-light-pulsing vagina tunnel! (Don’t worry guys, there is nothing THAT vagina-like about it, except that it is a tunnel.) You emerge in a color drenched disco-ball-spinning party palace, a la Studio 54! A gorgeous and smiling hunk of hard body adorned in only feathers offers you a cocktail, and then runs off to snatch your libation of choice. The signature cocktails are nothing short of “OMG that is delicious. Can I have another?” And they’re all dolled up with fun names like Miss Vanjie, served with a penis-like jalapeño and two round watermelon balls, and Russian Hooker, served in a real Russian doll contraption.

Despite the class of the refined cocktails and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, let’s not forget it IS still a gay bar. And we all like to enjoy a little smut, right? Glittering gold penises adorn the walls, in the shape of bananas, and naked full-breasted female mannequins walk on the walls. The aforementioned feather-adorned hot guy photos are plastered on the back bar, and there are huge murals of cherry-eating lips. The merchandise spells out Strut Slut. Don’t forget to jump in the Selfie Photo Booth, a glittering box of fun where you can immortalize your party moments in a photo, emailed to you the next day!

So, what happens at Strut? Well, everything! And every ONE is welcome! The owners refuse to dissect the queer culture with theme nights and instead strive to create an atmosphere of universal fun. There are friendly and efficient bartenders and server, and two rooms  in which to part. The big room is now open on weekends only, and is guaranteed to be a packed dance party. DJs spin on stage with video screens and twerking on the poles is encouraged. The more mellow back bar is open every night with craft cocktails, beer on tap and a nice cocktail area. The Sunday Drag Brunch is getting rave reviews, with food catered in and a show from the Mimosa Girls. Weeknights are already building momentum as plans unfurl—a Ladies night is already in the works with yours truly! Of course, boys are welcome too! Straight people—sure! Let’s ALL strut our stuff!

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.