Happy 17th Birthday to the Best Queer Bar in Atlanta!

Photo Courtesy of Kevin O

Photo Courtesy of Kevin O

Alright, we'll cop to a slight bias here. Mary's, a little dive tucked into the heart of East Atlanta Village, is the best bar in Atlanta. Our humble magazine is actually the offspring of late-night porch talks after one too many whiskey gingers and vodka sodas. In fact, pretty much all your trusty WUSSY editors (who weren't best friends their entire life!) and most regular contributors met at this bar. Whether you're coming to see the Village Queens, shake a leg at Bitch Please, or belt your ass off to a Fleetwood Mac song during one of their infamous karaoke nights, Mary's just feels like home.

But we're not the only faggots who think so. Not only have they been voted as the Best Karaoke AND Best Gay Bar for five years in a row locally by Creative Loafing, Mary's has been praised as one of the top 50 gay bars in America by OUT Magazine.

On Friday, November 20th, Mary's will celebrate its 17th birthday with a party hosted by bearded beauty Hydrangea Heath and with music by DJ Headmaster. To say thank you, we enlisted some help from the bar's family of regulars, DJs, and queens.

Here’s to the small glitter-top bar in EAV that has been the backdrop of so many major events in my life. Mary’s has seen my hook ups, break ups, inappropriate dance moves, tear stained cheeks, and uproarious laughter. It’s the first and only place I’ve ever DJ’d and the first and only time I’ll ever be called ‘security.’ Thanks for being my family. Let the barely legal countdown begin.
— Stasha Oakley
Happy Birthday, you ol’ bastion of buttsex. Here’s to another year of bumps in your bathroom and peeing in the mop sink.
— Lavonia Elberton
Photo Courtesy of Maggie Towe

Photo Courtesy of Maggie Towe

Dear Mary’s, I want to say thank you so much for allowing me to be me. When I first moved to Atlanta I had no friends and it was pretty rough. I went to all the regular gay bars and was like, ‘I hate Atlanta! Everyone is so closed minded.’ Little did I know I would find my family here at Mary’s. Also, I found my husband at karaoke night, so I guess that is not so bad either.
— Ellisorous Rex
Thank you for all the memories (and the lack of them) and for watering my hole?
— Jayne O'Connor
Photo Courtesy of Maggie Towe

Photo Courtesy of Maggie Towe

twat the night before sexmas and all through my blouse, not a shingle was tingled not even when soused. then twat to my smothering thighs would appear? but mary’s was filled with hot men and beer. in my pants my member arose, when the scent of sweat entranced through my nose. but the pound of the bass proved hard to resist so to mary’s i flew with cash in my fist.
— the story of Le Sexolex first XXXmas
Thank you for being a ‘light that never goes out.’ I have had some of the best times of my life with you. One I’ll never forget, even though I was too far gone to fully remember, was the night you convinced me to ‘go down the stairs backwards.’ I’m not saying it really takes much—as you know, a few bars of Crystal Castles, a whole lotta beer and a bit of Ben’s encouragement and I transform into a (Willy) ninja hell-bent on voguing anyone brave enough to challenge me all the way back to Paradise Garage. On this particular evening I was feelin’ it, and with no opponent left standing there wasn’t any other option. It was decided I had to vogue down the stairs backwards. I climbed to the top, laid myself down and realized I had no fucking clue how one goes about that kind of thing. I still don’t. I just pushed back and down I went. It hurt but I WAS DOING IT! Halfway down I slipped. The crowded was cheering and everything went into slow motion like a car crash. It occurred to me I was going to die. Die a legend. I survived and was blessed with one of my most cherished half-memories and hopefully a happy footnote in your history and our friendship.

With that, I’ll wish you a happy anniversary and leave you with a Morrissey quote.

’To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine.’
— Zach Draper AKA Your Whorlock
Image Courtesy of Eddie Ray

Image Courtesy of Eddie Ray

Happy Birthday Bitch!

First off, Me and Ben Cheaves have been friends since the 90’s, bitch! He has been in many a film of mine and continues to be in them to this day. His ass took me to Marys before even owning it with Bill and Mike. The first time I went I was like here we go another “gay bar”, but what I realized fast was that it was not just another gay bar. It was something different/cool and I think they saw that as well. They eventually bought it and turned into a home for so many people. Not just gay folks but everyone. All were welcome there and all have come over the years. It really has become the place to go over the years and it’s because of its owners. So many great parties, so many great events, so many great friends. Some Marys family have moved on to other states and some have passed away, but all have called it home once and probably made out with someone there too.

I have filmed so many films there over the years, that I can’t even count. I have taken so many pictures there, that I can’t even count. I have made so many friends there, that I can’t even count. I owe Marys, Ben and Bill a lot. We all do really. They have given us so much that we take that shit for granted. You owe them a home, friends, and even ass! So this weekend go tell Ben and Bill thank you for the laughs, the drinks, the love, the memories and even all the ass Marys gives you bitch!

Thank you Marys you give Atlanta so much. Remember things don’t last forever so go enjoy this shit now. Go hug someone there and take your photos and get your Bjs in the bathrooms while you can. In 2050 it will probably be Starbucks.
— Eddie Ray
If you wait in line for the restroom to pee at Mary’s: you clearly don’t know Mary’s, Mary.
— DJ King Atlas
Mary’s has been a watering hole for every shade of the queer rainbow, since the day its doors opened. The Village Queens all got our start there as off-beat, unpolished drag performers who were given a place to evolve and flourish. Today we are transformed as a result of the space that Mary’s shared with us, and I hope this birthday is filled with all the love in the world. Here’s to a big, gay, Southern HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
— Brigitte Bidet
When I turned 21, I was so excited to get drunk in public but less excited about the prospect of having to do it at a gay bar. My experience was mostly limited to hanging around 10th and Piedmont and I thought that’s what the gay experience was. Well, imagine my joy at wandering into Mary’s on my 21st to find a gay bar for weirdos like me. I always felt at home at Mary’s and it’s only gotten weirder since.
— Julian Modugno
Photo courtesy of Alli Royce Soble

Photo courtesy of Alli Royce Soble

Love Mary’s! It is an Atlanta GAYstitution, Honey. Best Bar in the city, HANDS DOWN. You can be ANYONE at Mary’s. . . loving, diverse, and gawd damn FUN!
— Alli Royce Soble
For five years I have called Mary’s my home. From the first used condom I saw on the bar floor to the times I’ve twirled in heels and a wig, I’ve made such wonderful, loving friendships there and memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you, Mary’s. Love & Biscuits!!!
— Hydrangea Heath
Mary’s is and will always be home; I was made here. I learned how to be a woman on that dirty ass floor and made money for Totino’s party pizzas while doing it. Whenever my life encounters an obstacle I can count on my brothers at the bar to perk me up with derisive banter and whiskey shots. I love you girl.
— Zaida J.
Image Courtesy of Eddie Ray

Image Courtesy of Eddie Ray

Mary’s is our best of times, it is our worst of times… she brings out our wisdom, she encourages our foolishness… she springs our hope, she winters our despair… * She is Mary’s.

Not just a bar, but yes, a bar. One full of incredible richness, yet it is at heart a dive… We are family in the realest senses, though we are not blood-related at all…

When they award Mary’s best gay bar in the country, they are thinking, it is adorable and cheeky and friendly and strange… they are not thinking: of the time Matt and Ria hustled an aggro frat boy outside after he tried to punch Ben, and dumped him facedown on the concrete sidewalk… or the many times I take refuge upstairs to lay on the hard nobby vinyl sofa and sob open-mouthed… or every loudly stated argument over politics and cigarettes on the back porch… or slaloming through the bar to eject that very last shot from the porch… or incandescent impossibly glamorous queens twirling down the stairs… or serious huddles discussing meals for our suffering friend… or Mel barking at everyone in the bar to stuff dollar-bills into the crayon and duct-tape decorated box for MondoHomo… or our daughter Amanda – child of all of us, given to us by Daddy Ria – streaming light and vivid song through the din and smoke, stunning us into joy and so much love… or simply dancing dancing spinning and dancing to the sirens summoned by perfect DJs… But we do.

We remember sparkling holiday lights, adroit references to our cultural Camp history, ever renewing disco balls and flowing LEDs, fervent worship of irony coupled with its truest of lovers, Love of Community and our home-made family… We know there is always somewhere to go, when we feel destroyed, when we feel exuberant, when we need hugs and abandon, when we want to engage another slurry but sparkling brain, or feel the sweat and solidity of queer bodies… THIS is our holy place. Our family. Our lovers. Our in-real-life porn. THIS is our space to be all of ourselves. Queer. Awkward. Prickly. Huge-hearted. Shady as a switchblade. Comfy as pajamas. Sexy as fuck. Beloved. Understood. Mary’s holds us.” *No apology to Charles Dickens
— Kiki
Many people have told me, and Out magazine even proclaimed, that Mary’s is the best gay bar they’ve ever visited. Usually I’m not a fan of such sweeping declarations, but you know what? They’re right. While other bars may have a similar aesthetic, there is something uniquely magical about our little corner of the world in East Atlanta. It’s been an honor to DJ at Mary’s for 12 (13? The details are hazy. . .) of her 17 years, and I hope to continue until I keel over one day in the DJ booth. Viva Mary’s!”
— Stuart Myerburg
Image Courtesy of Jon Dean

Image Courtesy of Jon Dean

When the tornado swept through Atlanta, without warning not so long ago, the whole city went dark. The one exception was a rainbow beacon of queer lighting up EAV. Instead of hiding from the chaos we joined our friends, the barflies, the villagers and all those in between on the dance floor at Mary’s. Any apprehension from the storms that night just faded away.

In my life Mary’s will always be the last light left on even when tornadoes come crashing through. Thank you for that.
— Brian & Robby