One of my favorite hangouts in this wonderful city of ours has to be Parlour. It’s eclectic decor, ever changing atmosphere and wide open venue for diverse and prevalent entertainment keep my curiosity peaked. Nikki Calhoun and Jennifer Murphy are the women behind the magic that keeps me coming back to the Parlour time and time again. They were good enough to share some of their story with The L Stop.
Both women grew up in the Chicago land area. Nikki a city girl who attended Mather High School while Jennifer spent her childhood in Elmhurst. They both were interested in opening a bar of their own, and even though friends tried to tell them “what a dump” that bar on Clark really was – the ladies had a vision and took the plunge into the life of business owners. They began their journey by completely gutting the place and working on the energy the old walls brought to them. Jennifer used the term “design by feel” – and with the help of a great designer named Jason Berry and artist Jason Thissell (who painted the centerpiece bar top and was one of the first artists show cased at the bar) they were able to create the warm, inviting space that we call Parlour.
What grabs my attention when I walk in the door at 6341 N. Clark is the embracing atmosphere of the space and the fact that I never know what might have changed from the last time I made a visit. Nikki told me, ”We both support local artists, musicians, entertainers – whether they’re drag queens or comedians. We love giving them all a place to perform.” In addition, Jennifer said,” Nikki and I have always been music and art lovers and felt it was important to create a platform for these talented people to share their amazing work with the public.”
The impact a place like Parlour has on the gay community, on the community in general, is such a powerful one in my mind. The vibe really is – everyone is welcome – everyone is a friend – everyone has a place to meet and hang and to just be who they are – without judgment or discrimination. But what moved me the most, as I was centering on the impact Parlour might have on the lesbian community specifically – was something that Jennifer said. She stated,”I feel like we are not only making an impact on the lesbian community but the GLBT community as a whole. It has been our intention not to create boundaries within genders and sexuality, Parlour is here to explore and open minds to new and exciting experiences.” Wow – I could not have said it better if I tried….
Lest I forget to mention – Parlour does serve mighty fine drinks to those of us with a valid ID!! The Bloody Mary’s are a work of art – a meal in a glass is what my friends all say. There are always drink specials and seasonal draft beers – but – most importantly of all – there is the APPLE PIE SHOT. Just had to hollah for that one – let me be perfectly honest here – I want to put in the oven and bake it – that’s how close to a real apple pie that shot tastes!!
As far as the future goes for Parlour, both Jennifer and Nikki see it being recognized as a fixture in the lives and careers of creative people as well as a venue for charity events and a variety of entertainment experiences for everyone. A place that “welcomes anyone to come and enjoy life and just be themselves.”
For more information regarding Parlour events as well as bookings for artists – please email www.parlouronclark.com.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.