[Spotlight] Twist LGBTQ Lounge
Cover photo by Ciara Kelley
Quietly and seemingly overnight, a new LGBTQ bar popped up in the space that used to be Shiners in Greensboro, located at 435- M Dolley Madison Rd.
The only marketing for the event was a Facebook post by Timothy Day, which stated that there would be an exciting announcement made at midnight on Sept. 1. The announcement post received over 40 shares, over 50 comments and over 100 likes.
On the evening of Sept. 1, Twist LGBTQ Lounge opened its doors for a soft opening.
The co-owners of Twist are David Gregory and Joe Wagner, and they also own Breakers Sports Bar, which is located one building over from Twist.
Wagner said he was “overwhelmed, and not expecting the turn out” on Sept. 1.
“With zero promo, I was so shocked at the support,” Gregory said. “Kind of humbled by it, it was all good feedback… It was just so positive all the way around.”
The interior of the bar is bright, open and equipped with a spacious dance floor, pool table and comfy couches for the full lounge experience.
“The reality is, also the truth, there is nowhere for me to go,” said Wagner, a 50-year-old gay man, on why he wanted to open another bar. “If I wanted to have a drink on my way home or if I was on a date, there is nowhere to go. Certainly, there are plenty of private clubs in Greensboro, but they didn’t feel like home or a place for me.”
“It was Joe’s idea, and I wanted to support my best friend and business partner,” said Gregory, who identifies as heterosexual. “It made a ton of sense, and I want him to be happy, just like you want your best friend to be happy.”
Gregory said the LGBTQ community in Greensboro, is an underserved market. Also, Breakers has been successful for the most part, so it made sense to open a new bar within proximity.
“You hear horror stories about best friends that go into business together, and how it never works and even when we did our first corporation, the attorney looked at us like we were crazy because we wanted it to be 50/50,” Gregory said.
Gregory and Wagner have been friends for 15 years, and have owned Breakers for three years.
At first, the two were reluctant to start a new venture.
“Any new business is going to be needy, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to invest what needed to be invested, monetarily and time-wise,” Wagner said.
“It seems like we did this overnight, but it has been an ongoing, behind-the-scenes thing since January,” Gregory said.
The vision for Twist is a neighborhood gay bar.
“Not strictly a nightclub, drag club, gay men’s bar, not a women’s bar; It’s a place where gay and straight can come and have a drink after work,” Wagner said. “There will be dancing on the weekends for those that want to dance. It is just somewhere for the community to go.”
Gregory said Twist would operate similarly to Breakers, where the clientele drives the events and gives feedback to the co-owners.
“We are going to listen to our customers just as any responsible business owner should, in my opinion, and give the people what they want, within reason,” Gregory said.
“To piggyback off of what David said earlier, the reason that we don’t have these things on a calendar is not because we are lazy, we need more information from the community,” Joe said.
Opening just in time before Greensboro Pride, Twist will have a booth downtown during the festival. The bar will also be open that night to those who want to come afterward.
Twist is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. until 12 a.m. on Sundays-Thursdays and until 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.