Barhopper: The Bachelor Forum

09:59 AM, Oct 23, 2013

The Bachelor's Forum is celebrating its 40th anniversary. (Pete Wayner)/


Written By Pete Wayner

The Bachelor Forum

Address: 670 University Ave.
Hours: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday.
Phone number: (585) 271-6930.
Facebook address: facebook.com/bachelor4m

In 1973, a bunch of leather-clad motorcyclists opened a gay bar on Main Street. It embraced a sultry reputation.

In 1990 The Bachelor Forum moved to the corner of University Avenue and Beacon Street. It looked like a garage — whitewashed and nondescript with small, elevated windows veiling the patrons’ identities to keep them out of the public eye.

Now, 40 years later, the Forum has grown up.

We’ve reinvented ourselves,” says owner Peter Mohr. “One of my customers actually said, ‘This is truly coming out of the closet.’ “

Mohr installed seven sets of doors facing facing University and Beacon. In warm weather, the doors open, creating a free flow between the bar and surrounding Neighborhood of the Arts.

The Bachelor Forum’s transformation goes beyond mere longevity and French doors. Mohr enforces a strict “no attitude” policy. Gay, straight, male or female — all are welcome.

Inside, an extensive Bose sound system plays dance music. Smirnoff Raspberry Lemonade and Captain Morgan Island Punch are on tap, and bottled beers range from Budweiser to craft selections. Cards are handed out between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., which, amid images of heaving biceps and pectorals, advertise the bar’s signature deal: three drinks for the price of two. On Tuesdays, drinks are half-price, and Mohr said that Friday boasts the biggest happy hour in the LGBT community.

Holidays are a busy time, too. The Forum opens on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays for patrons who either don’t have families with whom to celebrate, or are unwelcome at those celebrations because of their sexuality.

One of my … bartenders, Tom, will bring in chili for the guys or cook a turkey,” says Mohr. “The guys will bring in a dish to pass because it makes it more of a festive Thanksgiving.”

This month, the Forum marked a special occasion.

On Oct. 6, Mayor Tom Richards and New York Assemblyman Harry Bronson joined Mohr in celebrating the Forum’s 40th anniversary. Bronson presented a citation for supporting Rochester’s LGBT community through the last four decades.

I canalways tell you that the bar’s wonderful,” said Mohr. “Having the mayor come to the oldest gay bar says something about the bar itself.”