In the past few years, one of Vancouver’s longest standing watering holes (pay attention to the double entendre as we’ll return to it later) has seen quite a bit of change. The Pump Jack bar on our one and only “gay street” has gone from older gentleman attending semi-seedy with don’t ask don’t tell back rooms, through an acquisition of space and remodel to become a sought after dancing club and bar, to a now hit locale that attracts guys of all ages and all types. While the soul of the old gal still exists with it’s regulars from “back in the day” being forever welcome and offered a place to drink or cruise, the face of the place has definitely changed. Recently, in conjunction with our largest bathhouse- Steamworks– the Pump Jack is venturing into a new world with new offerings with its Wet & Wild weekly shower nights.
I will be one of the first to admit that my initial reaction to hearing that Vancouver’s longest standing cover-free bar was introducing a weekly charge was one of… is piss-off-edness a word? I absolutely loved being able to stroll into a bar without having to remember to carry any of those damn rubber bills with the Queen’s face on them and go plastic all night. I loved knowing that if the bar wasn’t for me that night I was in and out no muss no fuss. But, after attending last night’s event I get what they’re doing. First off, you’ll notice one thing: THERE WERE NO GIRLS. Okay, all the pan sexual, post-modern, non-gender conforming hipsters can jump down my throat about how “we’re all humans” and blah blah crap: to you I say eat it. Congratulations if you’re so beyond caring about the perceptions and attitudes of anyone around you but for most of us: there’s a camaraderie among men that is disrupted by the presence of a stagette who stumbled into your space because a) there’s no cover, and b) “gays are just so much more fun”. If I’m going to get frisky with a dude on the dance floor or next to the classic Keno machine, I’m not dying to be on display to six Australian chicks wearing shirts that say “sluts last night out” on them. Wet and Wild helps take care of that problem. Not only does the nominal cover deter the ladies, but the night itself exudes masculine energy. Just like the Pump Jack always has.
To what goes your $5 donation (the cover is five bucks by the way), well, it goes to an array of male strippers apparently all in need of a shower. No, that’s not shade, these men take to the Pump Jack’s semi-recently installed two man shower that often only has enough room for one of the beef cakes this night employs. Last night we saw a variety of shapes, sizes, and sexualities up there (I don’t TOTALLY believe that gorgeous straight guy hasn’t done SOMETHING before…). Taking a page from the energetic scene in Montreal, Wet and Wild offers strippers to be dollar billed, and muscles to be soaked (feel free to think back to the reference to “watering hole” at this point). To be fully honest, strippers are NOT my thing (I say that knowing I’m wildly in the minority), but the sheer show value and fun they bring to the stage and dance floor was and is undeniable.
Some local favourites and international scale DJs: Del Stamp and Nick Bertossi will work as resident guides to your musical experience and I have to say I couldn’t stop singing along to remixes of all my tops last night. Further, the Pump Jack has teamed up with the local bathhouse Steamworks and offered discounts all night to their establishment so even if finding a guy on the dance floor or at the bar didn’t work, there’s no need to end your night there.
Wet & Wild isn’t just for older men, it isn’t just for muscle men, but I would argue it’s for men looking to have a fun night out. So, leave the beard at home (keep the facial hair), maybe bring along a fiver or two if you want to get the eye of that stripper and try this new Friday night out.