It's an elegant new bar with oversized leather armchairs and walls painted a dusky blue - and for Canberra's gay and lesbian community it will be a welcoming spot for date nights and after work drinks.
This is 16West, a glam new watering hole that opens on April 8 in Civic.
Owners Kim Ware, Lynne O'Brien and Richard Allen have been friends for more than 20 years and are veterans of Canberra's gay nightlife scene.
Allen, a drag queen who is universally known as Rachel, says the new bar is a sign that "mother is coming home" and describes it as a more grown up venue. "There's nothing there for the older generation. There's Cube, for the younger generation," he says. "I've run a few bars in my team, Heaven, and Hush. I thought the community needed something new, it's time for a change."
Lynne O'Brien says 16West's vibe as "very civilised, sit down drinks, after work, or date nights".
"And gay weddings when they are legalised," Rachel adds.
The light, airy bar in West Row is in the spot where Muddle Bar used to be before it closed quietly.
There are framed prints from Mardi Gras under gilt spotlights, rows of tall bar tables down the back, and sofas and armchairs dotted around low tables and potted plants. A cabinet in one alcove is home to bits of memorabilia from Canberra's gay and lesbian past, while rainbow LED lights make the bar sparkle.
O'Brien says they intend to host everything from performances by LGBTQI comedians to drag queen nights and weekend breakfast for gay mums and dads groups. "Whatever people want, we'll try to offer," she says.
It will initially run from Wednesdays to Sundays from 4pm and the owners hope to extend hours to include weekend brunches and coffee.
16West opens with two parties, on Friday and Saturday night, and will raise funds on opening weekend for a memorial garden for AIDS victims. Rachel's partner died of the disease and he's lost many friends over the past 25 years.
There will be unisex bathrooms and an informal hiring program for young transgender Canberrans, to create a safe place for them in the community. And straights are also welcome.
"We want people to come here and be themselves, whatever that is," Lynne O'Brien says.
16West opens on Friday, April 8 at 16 West Row, Civic. See 16west.com.au