Bottoms Up





Bottom’s Up started as a generic bar meant for the Ward’s working class. Liam McCarthy wanted to create a meeting house similar to the pubs his father talked about in Ireland. He quickly noticed that most of his clientele were local men. It didn’t take long for him to sort out that gay men were using it as their neighborhood watering hole. Being a savvy businessman, he leaned into the image and became a staunch advocate for the queer community.

Years later Mickey, his only son, came out. Liam didn’t bat an eye. After a lengthy and awkward discussion about safe sex, Liam assured his son he’d love him no matter who (though he hoped for a proper Irish lad) Mickey brought home. After that, Mickey started working as a bar back at Bottom’s Up. Being a protective dad, he rarely allowed Mickey to work into the evenings, claiming he wanted his son to meet young men his own age.

Several years later, Liam found his health declining and Mickey had to step up and take over the bar. Shortly after, Liam passed away. While the funeral was a solemn affair, the celebration at Bottom’s Up that followed was nothing but lively tales. Seeing how much his father meant to the community, he vowed to continue his father’s work. The following year, the Pride Council created the McCarthy Ally Award, which still sits proudly behind the bar.

Bottom’s Up has a reputation of being a welcoming place to grab a drink and mingle. Often it’s followed by Mickey’s reputation as a grumpy but lovable man. After decades of late nights and early mornings, Mickey decided it’s time to consider retirement. Before he can move from bartender to silent owner, he has to find himself a capable manager who will continue honoring his and his father’s legacy.


For more than a decade, Bottom’s Up has been a proud member of the Ward’s Chamber of Commerce. It has been an ongoing supporter of Vanguard Pride and often has a float in the parade. The bar also sponsors the Vanguard Leather Society and the Brotherhood of Bears with weekly meetup nights. It also is the host of the Darlings of Drag Liquid Brunch every Sunday afternoon.


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