The Avenue Pub in Rochester named one of the 100 best LGBTQ bars in the United States


Two businesses in western New York have been named one of the nation’s top 100 LGBTQ bars.

The Avenue Pub in Rochester was # 73 on Yelp’s list in honor of Pride Month. Fugazi in Buffalo was listed at No.65.

“It’s an honor,” said Tanya Knope, co-owner of The Avenue Pub with her sister, MaryEllen Sweet. “It’s a vital part of the community and it’s been around for so long.”

Avenue Pub is in its 46th year at 522 Monroe Ave. Knope’s father Gary Sweet opened the bar in 1975 and ran it until his unexpected death in 2015. Sweet was involved with the Highland Park AIDS Remembrance Garden and appeared in Shoulders to stand on, a documentary detailing the history of the gay community in Rochester.

“He wanted it to be a safe place for gay people because at the time there really wasn’t any,” Knope said. “He held on when people wanted him to go.”

Bar owner Gary Sweet died shortly after celebrating the 40th anniversary of his bar, The Avenue Pub, in Rochester in 2015.

Knope has spent years helping behind the bar and in marketing, but she has another full-time sales job. The sisters have banded together to keep the pub open after Gary Sweet’s death.

“I felt it was important to keep going for the community,” Knope said. “We call them Gay Cheers because everyone knows everyone and it’s so welcoming.”

The Avenue Pub, which has a full kitchen, patio and pool table, underwent renovations during the pandemic. Knope is planning a Pride popup event in July.

The “The 100 best LGBTQ + bars in the United States“was assembled from companies in the gay bars category on the site and rated them based on the total number of reviews and ratings between 2016 and 2021. Ten of the companies are located in New York City.

The Avenue Pub, 522 Monroe Ave.  in Rochester

The avenue pub, 522 Monroe Ave., only has 10 reviews but they are all five stars. Fugazi, 503 Franklin St., has 26 Yelp reviews with an average of four stars.

“Our employees are the backbone of the pub family,” Knope said. “Everyone is so close and they’ll be proud to be on this list. It’s their heart.

“The community has always supported the bar and we get a good mix of customers.”

Last month, Yelp made it easier for consumers to support businesses that align with their values ​​by including rainbow-colored pins for businesses that identify as LGBTQ or ” open to all ”.

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