Kelowna welcomes first LQBTQ+ cocktail lounge

Friends of Dorothy lounge is located in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna’s business community continues to break down barriers with the launch of the city’s first LGBT2Q+ cocktail lounge.

Friends of Dorothy Lounge, which opened in late January, provides an accepting place for everyone to enjoy a selection of cocktails, food and entertainment.

Rudy Tomazic, owner of Friends of Dorthy, said the establishment was created simply because there was a need in the Okanagan for a place for the LGBT2Q+ community and its allies to hang out where they could be themselves.

“It’s not just about the LGBT2Q+ community, it’s about community as a whole,” said Tomazic.

“We have people that are coming in that are a part of the straight community, the queer community. So, it’s not just for the LGBT2Q+, but for everyone.”

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Tomazic said the establishment has been received better than he could’ve ever imagined, often operating at capacity.

“The thing I hear the most is thank you,” said Tomazic, adding people from as far as Kamloops, Osoyoos and Revelstoke have come to see the new lounge.

“It’s been better received than I thought it would be. Not that I didn’t think it would be well received, I just thought it would be a slower build. It’s already at the point where we’re turning people away on the weekends, I don’t have enough seats for people.”

Friends of Dorothy Lounge is located on the corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue in downtown Kelowna. The name “Friends of Dorthy” was created with Tomazic’s aunt Dorothy in mind, an inspiring woman who was a member of the LGBT2Q+ community. The term ‘Friends of Dorothy’ was also used as a code to identify yourself as gay in times that were much less accepting.

In terms of the aesthetic, Sticks and Stones design group created the space, which the establishment describes as the “Louis the XIV meets punk chic.”

“It was important to create a space that feels like a VIP experience while not taking ourselves too seriously,” said Tomazic.

“We also wanted to create a lounge experience that offers marvelous taste in a modernly royal setting. The vision was warm, comfortable and inviting.”

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The lounge serves affordable signature cocktails such as the Rusty Tin Man, Ruby Slipper and Rainbow Twister. In addition, delicacies like No Brainer and Lion’s Share paired with Friend of Dorothy’s house special cocktails are crafted to take the culinary experience to the next level.

Starting in March, the lounge will also be hosting Karaoke Wednesdays, held by local drag queens, as well as a drag brunch to be launched in March.

For more information on the Friends of Dorthy Lounge, visit its website.

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