The gays love the idea of lesbian tacos—the mere mention of them makes them giggle like schoolgirls. "Lesbian tacos!" one says. "I'm going to go wash my mouth out with soap!"

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"Lesbian tacos..." says another. "They know how to make 'em."

"Tortillera!" says the third. "It's slang for lesbian in South America—tortilla maker!" He gleefully does a flat-handed patty-cake. "I don't even know what this gesture means, but they always do it."

We're at Purr, Seattle's only gay bar that is supposed to be lesbian-owned and serves tacos (among other Mexican favorites). Purr's where the Bad Juju used to be before it moved to the premises of Neumo's; then Barbie (who, rumors to the contrary, is actually straight), who used to work at Manray, took over the space. Now it's got a pussycat logo (with either a studded or diamond collar, the subject of a brief, unresolved debate) and lots of purple lanterns. "People always talk about the lighting here," says one of the gays. "They like it. It makes everyone look better than they actually are." Where the Bad Juju was dark and a little seamy, Purr is pretty—polished concrete floors, high-end red leather couches, exposed brick and timbers, and a massive, lovely wood bar that doesn't seem like it was here before, but maybe it was just too dark to see it.

Purr is also, according to the gays, the new Manray, meaning that it's the default, where you go to regroup if your night's not going as it should or to meet people before going to Neighbours. Though, of course, Manray still functions as a Manray, too, as does the Madison Pub, another favorite ("my default-default," says one).

"Have you been upstairs?" I am asked. (Purr's private VIP lounge with a full bar, sound system, and a duo of plasma-screen TVs is available for rental and is sometimes open to one and all. Tonight, no such luck.)

"Have you seen the sex closet?" A three-foot-high set of doors inset in a nearby wall is indicated. "It's for little people." Actually it functions as a coat check and, sometimes, supposedly, a changing room for the staff ("It's like Superman: They go in there dressed normally and come out supergay, or maybe with an apron on").

Purr's drinks are big and strong and served in heavy highball glasses that are narrower at the top than the bottom, seemingly designed to be dropped. The cute, tidy crowd is prone to hugging, smiling, and intermittent photo taking. A decisive, succinct summary is issued: "People put on their best jeans to come here." Women make up maybe 5 percent of the crowd, with a little brood of them literally in front of us on a sofa. "There are women here? I never see women. Oh, look: There's women."

Support The Stranger

Purr (1518 11th Ave, 325-3112) hosts a beer bust every Sunday, with $1 beers and $2 tacos from 2 pm to midnight.

bethany@thestranger.com