“We hear a lot that there’s a lack of community for LGBTQ in New Hampshire – not a lot of options.”
That’s what J.M. Hirsch, a Concord resident, had to say about the LGBTQ community in the capital city. Being a member of that community, Hirsch and his partner, Nicholas King, decided to do something about it.
On Sunday, Whiskey & Wine will open its doors for the first-ever Pride Pop Ups, a pop-up LGBTQ night at the downtown establishment. It will be a one-night-only event welcoming the LGBTQ community and allies to show up, have a drink and just get to know each other a little.
“We wanted to do something that could bring people together,” Hirsch said. “It’s obviously been a tough political climate for people on the progressive end of things, and Concord on the whole is such a welcoming community that we felt it was a great place to do it.”
It all came together rather serendipitously. Hirsch and King were at Whiskey & Wine one night just grabbing a drink and talking about this idea of asking a local bar to host an event like this. One of the bartenders overheard the conversation, joined in and ended up loving the idea. The next thing they knew, they had a date of Jan. 20 – a Sunday, when Whiskey & Wine is normally closed.
Hirsch and King had been thinking about doing something like this for some time.
“We went to the meeting for Concord Pride, and we heard the same thing from everybody at this meeting – Pride is great, it’s a wonderful event once a year, but once a year doesn’t build a community,” Hirsch said. “We decided we wanted to try to do a little bit more.”
That led to the idea of a bar, but that was about as far as the idea was planned out – they didn’t have a venue or a date. That is, until they were overheard talking about the idea while having a night out at Whiskey & Wine.
Hirsch thought it would be nice to hold the event at a local business – the business will get a chance to make a little extra money on a night they would normally be closed making nothing.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Hirsch said.
As excited as he is about this first-of-its-kind event in Concord, Hirsch also realizes that this is just a modest start for what he hopes will be a larger, more regular thing in this city.
“We hope to do them regularly,” Hirsch said. “Barley House has expressed interest in doing one.”
Hirsch is not doing this for political reasons, or because it’s somehow related to his job or some committee he’s a member of. He’s just a Concord guy who likes the idea of building community and wanted to see something like this happen in his city.
“Just give an opportunity for LGBTQ and allies to get together and build community,” he said.
He was partly inspired by his own East Concord neighborhood, where he said everybody always hangs out and gets along, and that it’s wonderful. He hopes to foster the same kind of environment at the event Sunday.
The event will run from 6 to 10 p.m. and there is no cover charge and no reservations or RSVP required. It will essentially be just like any other night at Whiskey & Wine, and Hirsch is expecting a nice turnout.
“It’s going to be exciting to see what happens. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far – I’m starting to fear that we may have too many, which is a good problem to have.”
You don’t have to identify as LGBTQ to attend, as the point of this is to build community in general, not just for LGBTQ individuals to make connections with each other.
And remember, this is just the start of what Hirsch hopes will be a long-running practice in the city.
“Down the road, it’ll be interesting if we do it at another restaurant on a night when they are open,” he said. “I think Concord is such a welcoming and progressive community that I’m not too worried about that.”
For more information about this event, go to lgbtqnh.com.