This Latinx club has been around for over three decades and honors every sense of the term “dive bar.” Its glamorous charm brings queer Angelenos for drag shows and cheap drinks–just be sure to bring cash.
While West Hollywood is arguably the best LGBTQ destination in the country, Downtown Los Angeles offers people a grungier, less-manicured, more diverse local ambiance that brings people from all walks of life to the scene..
In fact, Downtown is having a bit of a queer hayday. DTLA Pride is an up- and-coming event that celebrates diversity and local businesses in the area. This non-profit group that runs the pride has a mission to “strengthen and empower the local LGBT+ & ally community in Downtown Los Angeles through visibility, volunteerism, partnerships, and events.”
This has created an influx of venues.
The proliferation of gay bars in downtown is a new trend that’s also been changing nightlife in the City of Angels. Bars like Precinct and Redline are fairly recent establishments, but The New Jalisco Bar is certainly the veteran of the bunch, with honorable mention to the Mustache Mondays back when it was at La Cita Bar.
Jalisco Bar is your escape from Top 40 Billboard hits. The drag queens at this bar give you the best of Gloria Trevi, Laura León, and Paulina Rubio. These fabulous Mexican divas resonate in the hearts of many queer Latinos like me.
They sing about our heartbreaks and triumphs, and people feel their spirit when the drag queens get on stage. This is some of the reasons why people keep coming back to see great diva queens such as Azul Love.
Azul Love has been working at The New Jalisco Bar since 2011, back when they hadn’t remodeled the bar yet. The spot was so modest she recalls changing into her outfits and putting on her make-up in the bathroom to get ready to perform.
“It was very tiny and people would need to come in to use the toilet—we thought it was hilarious,” she recalls. “No one wanted to perform at the bar because they thought it looked ugly.”
This fierce Latina drag queen quickly became one of the hosts at The New Jalisco Bar for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday shows: “I started working with the bar regularly,” Azul told GayCities. “I was in charge of the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday shows, and in 2015 we came up with the idea of changing the bar’s look by adding sofas, a chandelier and red velvet curtains for the stage.”
Azul Love’s favorite impersonation is Gloria Trevi, one of Mexico’s fiercest divas. But this drag queen also impersonates Lady Gaga, which has given her the opportunity to travel to Hawaii, Chicago, and the Bay Area.
Azul Love battled substance abuse back in 2017 and needed to take time for herself. She now uses her lived experiences as a platform to bring awareness the problem of addiction afflicting some in the community. Her success with drag has given her the chance to host other gay clubs in the area, such as Corba in North Hollywood and Club Chico in East LA.
“Drag is my passion,” Azul says. “Describing what I feel when I am on stage would limit the sensation. I am alive. I am strong. Those are the feelings that come to mind when I think about performing.”
Photos by Jerry Johnson