Galveston’s LGBTQ+ community is excited about the opening of the island’s newest gay bar. Island Time Beach Bar promises to be “a place for all” with an emphasis on the island locals.
Michael Cassavaugh, General Manager and owner told MONTROSE STAR, “This bar is gay owned and operated. We are a gay bar that anyone can feel welcome visiting, be it LGBTQ, straight, non-binary, trans or simply just a human. We will also be dog friendly during the day; they need a fun place to be with their humans. A Pride flag will fly starting on our opening day, and we even have a rainbow effect in our logo. We will always be an LGBTQ safe space. As long as you are respectful of other patrons, you’re welcome at Island Time — a place for all.”
Michael was approached by his friend Richard, the building’s owner, who asked if he would take the lease over after the previous tenant moved out in December. Richard and his partner Wayne had opened Boulevard at this location in the late 1990s. Wayne passed away shortly after opening, and Richard has leased the property ever since.
Putting Island Time together required a significant financial investment, as the building had lots of deferred maintenance and all the fixtures and furniture had been removed.
“My amazing husband and I did some sole searching and decided to jump in. He’s been incredibly supportive of my 16-hour days while we prepare to open!” says Michael. “We have reimagined the space and taken it back to where it all started — removing years of ‘build on top’ additions. New seating, dance floor, bar configuration, employee spaces, sound, lighting, HVAC and more. We have upgraded the exterior, including adding ramps for the first time in its 25-year history as a bar.”
The bar at 3102 Seawall Boulevard will play host to karaoke, drag shows, singing competitions, live music and screenings of popular shows and events like RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Super Bowl.
Island Time employs about eight bartenders, from all walks of life. They have brought in about ten door people, bar backs and security folks in addition to three DJs and KJs that will work regularly, joined by guests that will spin during special events.
When he’s not busy opening bars, Michael has owned and/or operated vacation rentals on the island for the past seven years. Prior to that he worked in restaurants and hosted karaoke on the island. He is looking forward to hosting again at Island Time.
No gay bar is complete without a drag show and Island Time has lined up some exceptional talent for theirs.
“I’m fortunate enough to have Kymber Devine coming in as the show director. She had her start in Galveston just over 12 years ago when this was Stars Night Club. As a national title-holder, she has a great network of entertainers and is amazing with costuming and development of up-and-coming talent. The shows will include both queens and males performing songs alone and in pairs and groups. They’ll also all be part of our ‘Sunday Funday with a View’ that includes brunch, bingo, live performances, live bands and karaoke,” reports Michael.
“We plan to be a “place for all” with an emphasis on the island locals. No cover for locals (who visit regularity),” he added.
Lead bartender, Josh Mills, is working to create some special drinks that will be “beach bar” focused, including frozen drinks. Josh has been a bartender on the island for more than a decade and brings a boatload of experience! Veteran Island mixologists Louis Johnston and Sherry Arnold are on board, as well.
A food truck will be on site to address hunger pains. It will be open late, and plans are for it to work with the POS system, allowing customers to order at their table and have their meal brought to them.
In closing, Michael says, “It’s my goal to work with all the other LGBTQ or LGBTQ friendly bars, clubs and community programs so that we can together sponsor some amazing events for Galveston. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lots of amazing people in the greater LGBTQ community here and we are already working towards some amazing events that we hope to be able to announce soon.”