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Club Café, Boston's gay social hub, turns 30

Posted by Jim Lopata October 11, 2013 10:01 AM

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Club Café New Year's Eve celebration 2000 (photo: courtesy Club Café)

This weekend, Club Café celebrates its 30th birthday, when co-founder and owner Frank Ribaudo marries his longtime partner; big party!

The following story was originally published in the September/October 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

The Beat Goes On

Club Café celebrates 30 years as the heart of Boston’s LGBT scene

by Scott Kearnan

Club Café founder Frank Ribaudo will never forget his anniversary. Either of them.
On October 13, Ribaudo will marry his longtime partner Joe Posa. They’ll celebrate their reception, which after certain hours will be open to the whole community, at Club Café. That’s because their wedding coincides with a second reason to celebrate. October marks the 30th anniversary of Club Café, which has become iconic in New England’s gay scene. For one generation, it has been a community center: a comfortable second home filled with old friends. For another, it’s a party palace: where stepping inside, grabbing your first drink, and scoring your first date has become a veritable rite of passage. And Club Café shows no sign of slowing down.

“2013 has been a banner year for us,” says Ribaudo joyfully. In a more accepting world, where it’s harder and harder to keep gay establishments afloat, Club Café is enjoying some of its best business.

But that success wasn’t always a sure thing, and Ribaudo admits that early on he never would have believed that Club Café could wind up a decades-spanning landmark in New England’s LGBT culture. “To be honest, for the first five years all I thought about was how to keep from going bankrupt,” says Ribaudo. “I don’t think we made a dime.”
That’s because 30 years ago, everything about Club Café was a calculated risk: from its willingness to challenge a bullying nearby business to its wide wall of windows that, in a brazen move at the time, planted a highly visible gay establishment right on the Boston streetscape.

Here’s the story of how it stayed there.


Summer lovin' yum!

Posted by Jim Lopata July 6, 2013 07:52 PM


by Ricardo Rodriguez | photos by Natasha Moustache

I am unabashedly a summer kind of guy. To me there is nothing better than a warm evening of delicious dining al fresco, a cold glass of champagne and the company of friends. Plus I love any excuse to dress as light and minimal as possible …

So I recruited some friends to help me put together a night to remember. Set at the unbelievably perfect home of South End royalty Bobby Kelley and Eddie Luis, this evening was a dream come true. Included in the guest list, fashion designer Daniela Corte, the brainchild behind Bodega Jay Gordon, designing genius Alina Wolhardt, entrepreneur Mike Kelley and his brother, real estate enfant terrible, Brian.


Miami calling

Posted by Jim Lopata January 31, 2013 10:29 AM

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The Standard Spa Miami

As the cold weather is expected to hit the Hub again, Boston style maven Ricardo Rodriguez shares the secrets of warm Miami, as divulged by his friend, Southern Florida insider and style maven Louis Aguirre

Note: Fabulous videos that accompany this story can be accessed here.

By Ricardo Rodriguez

Forget what you think you know, these days Miami is much more than just a beachside resort town. The party still rages, but it’s the art and design scene that rage stronger and have transformed Miami into one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Once known as the gateway to Latin America, now Miami is the gateway to the world, as people from all over the globe have rediscovered this tropical slice of paradise.

So I recruited the help of my dear friend Louis Aguirre to help us build the chicest, most amazing insider guide to this exciting new Miami. And he definitively knows best. Louis is the host of the popular South Florida entertainment TV show Deco Drive and an actor appearing on hit shows like Sex and the City, JAG, and Burn Notice. His newest project is a perfectly curated video insider guide to the city.

So now that the winter is in full force you might want to plan a little escape. Go ahead. This is his Miami.


Local options for an lgbt friendly Thanksgiving

Posted by David Zimmerman November 19, 2012 09:31 AM

With a few days to go before Thanksgiving there are a few great options for anyone looking to combine great food and philanthropy for the lgbt community. For those of you interested in the restaurant experience on Thanksgiving, Club Café (209 Columbus Ave. – on the corner of Columbus and Berkeley Streets) will be serving up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (complete with turkey and roast prime rib carving stations) between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.. The cost for the dinner is $28.95 per person and 10% of all food sales will be donated to the Boston Living Center.

Great food, great friends, and donating to a great cause….sounds a pretty good way to spend Thanksgiving. More information and reservation information can be found on Club Café’s website.

If you plan on having a more traditional ‘in-home’ Thanksgiving dinner then you might want to check out Community Servings ‘Pie in the Sky’ option for your dessert. The pies are donated by 150 of Greater Boston's best chefs, bakers, and caterers. They cost $25 each and can be ordered ONLINE.

For the cost of one pie Community Servings is able to feed a critically ill person for an entire week. To recap…for a cost of $25 you and your family/friends get to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dessert AND feed a person in need for an entire week. Is there a better definition of Thanksgiving?

Here’s hoping you have a fun, safe and healthy ThanksGIVING.

This is a Real Nice Clambake

Posted by Jim Lopata July 24, 2012 09:55 AM


Beach Blanket Perfection

The Summer Shack team shares its secret for the New England summer meal par excellence, including full recipes! Yum!

by John O’Connell

Editor’s Note: This story is adapted from a feature that ran in Boston Spirit magazine’s July/August 2012 issue.

The clambake. The epitome of the New England summer parties: elegant, casual, rustic, and romantic. We all think, at least once, “Wouldn’t it be great to throw a clambake?” and then reality settles in. With directions containing lines like “dig a two foot deep hole,” “cover each layer with seaweed,” or “keep the burlap bag moist with seawater” the project quickly becomes outside the scope of what most are willing to deal with on a given Saturday. How many in Boston own a plot of land that can spare that much square footage, let alone a shovel?

Jeff Dugan, the out Director of Operations and Partner at Jasper White’s Summer Shack, agreed to share the Summer Shack’s secrets for conquering the mighty clambake. In addition to the restaurant’s four locations throughout the greater Boston area, Summer Shack also runs the catering and snack options on Spectacle and Georges Islands in the Boston Harbor. “It’s the actual shack portion of the brand,” jokes Dugan.

The secret to a successful clambake is in the steaming. “Steaming is less messy and safer than boiling. It cooks the lobsters more gently, so the meat is more tender,” says Dugan. “If you’re near the ocean and can boil them in ocean water, by all means, do so. But boiling a lobster in tap water dilutes the flavor.” Another secret weapon is the use of an egg in the bake. If the egg is hard-boiled, the lobsters will be cooked through.

About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!

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