Tuscaloosa has a number of bars where students can go, offering a variety of scenes and choices.
However, when would University students and Tuscaloosa residents ever have associated drag queens, dance music, gin and juice and walk-offs with the Tuscaloosa bar scene instead of cover bands, beer, pool, darts and football?
Since late April of this year, one bar has filled one of the few niches that Tuscaloosa was lacking for years.
“It’s a different experience compared to anywhere you’ll go in Tuscaloosa,” said David Haugen, a junior majoring in public relations.
Icon is an alternative dance bar located at 613 Greensboro Ave. where the bar Traditions used to be, next to the restaurant Big Daddy’s.
Haugen and Russell Stephens, a junior majoring in musical theatre and journalism, have been going to the bar since its opening in late April.
Stephens said the bar is targeted for a wide spectrum of people.
“It is very diverse,” Stephens said. “There is no predominant group. A lot of people who aren’t gay go to the bar. Also, along with students, a lot of Tuscaloosa natives come and hang out as well.”
Haugen said the bar is fun for everyone.
“It’s different groups of people doing their own thing,” he said. “However you express yourself, you’ll be sure to have a good time.”
Icon is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. and 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Friday.
The music at Icon is usually top 40 pop hits, sometimes remixed and sometimes not, Haugen said.
Icon has designated gay nights, Tuesday and Friday, and there is no specified designation for the rest of the nights.
Tuesday night is Gin and Juice night, which used to be featured at the Brickhouse.
Every Friday night is the G-spot, which is hosted by Genesis, a drag queen from Birmingham, and features performers from across the country, according to the G-spot Facebook page.
There is a drag show every Friday night, and Stephens said drag queens come from Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Montevallo to perform.
“Genesis brings in people she knows. You never know what to expect with Genesis,” Stephens said.
“Genesis is the personality of the bar,” Haugen said.
Stephens said, for an example of some of the drag queens that perform at G-spot, this past Friday a drag queen wore a Twilight inspired outfit with fangs painted on her face.
“It was awesome,” Stephens said.
Stephens and Haugen both said some of their favorite memories of the bar involve dance-offs and walk-offs.
“David and his friend clear the dance floor and do choreographed dances when Lady Gaga comes on,” Stephens said.
“We’ve had walk-offs and dancing on the bar,” Haugen said.
Luke Harbison, a bartender at Icon, said it can be the perfect place to relax, be yourself, and have a good time.
“It has a very good environment,” Harbison said. “It’s a good thing to have in Tuscaloosa. It’s a place where you can do what you want. It can sometimes get crazy.”
“Somebody in a newspaper actually said a gay or alternative bar could never be successful in Tuscaloosa,” Haugen said. “But [Icon] is successful. It was able to survive over the summer while there weren’t many students in town and it is growing.”
“It’s really great,” Stephens said. “It’s just fun. There’s not a lot of different fun stuff to do in Tuscaloosa so Icon is special. You can just go and hang out with your friends and talk to people.”