A place to call home
The Egyptian Club caters to women, but everyone's invited
The Egyptian Club is so homey that regulars even call Linda Paul, the woman who works the club's front door, 'Mom.'
Paul also tends bar and serves up practical advice along with the stiff drinks she pours at the women's gathering spot.
The unpretentious club has wood-paneled walls, a well-worn carpet and a lot of smoke. For many patrons, the comfortable den is their home away from home.
The Egyptian caters mainly to women, primarily lesbians, but welcomes anyone who walks through its front doors. The atmosphere is come as you are, and the friendly service and easy conversation backs that up.
'This is home,' said Terri Smith of Vancouver, Wash., on a recent Saturday night. 'I can be who I am and not have to worry about anyone hurting me or giving me trouble.'
'I couldn't expose my lifestyle at a straight bar Ñ I might be bothered,' added Alex Lasich, a regular at the Egyptian for years. 'Here, you will never be hurt or accosted. Here you would have other women to defend you Ñ it's a nonviolent environment here.'
Co-owners Kim Davis and Shauna Still opened the women's lounge six years ago to fill a need in the city's lesbian community. The only other women's bar they knew of Ñ Club 927 Ñ had closed years earlier.
Davis, who had dreamed of owning her own place for a long time, wanted to do it right by creating a warm yet entertaining environment for lesbians. She drew up a marketing plan and then promptly forgot about it. Years later, she found the plan in a box and decided to go for it.
'Our customers are out in the world working every day,' Davis said. 'Some are hiding who they are. Some are being discriminated against. Here they can get away with being themselves.'
Customers can wander through one of three main rooms to suit their mood. A meandering hallway connects 'The Egyptian Room,' which has billiards tables; 'The Room,' which has plenty of booth space and a karaoke stage; and a dance area known as 'The Tomb.'
Rare is the night when the club isn't putting on some kind of unusual show, including 'drag king' shows, belly-dancing performances and dating games.
If you're lucky, you'll catch amateur singer Danie Ward of Northeast Portland on a karaoke night.
The only downside to the club?
Long lines for the ladies' room.