Spotlight: Stacy’s Piano Bar
This Gay Piano Bar Puts the Unity in Community
By Kevin Perry
If you could meet a hug emoji in human form, it would be Stacy Louis. The supremely affable entrepreneur who lends his name to Stacy’s @ Palm Springs is quick with a laugh and even quicker when you ask for his biographical information.
In rat-a-tat fashion, he sings, “I’m Stacy, I’m from Virginia, I moved to Phoenix 19 years ago, opened a bar almost six years ago there called Stacy’s at Melrose. I’ve always loved Palm Springs, so a little over a year ago I came out here and opened a second Stacy’s. And I love it - y’know, living in two hot cities is great!”
His uproarious laughter embraces our conversation. Stacy is a welcoming wizard, inviting strangers into his soul as well as its ultimate manifestation: his bar. He describes the homey hideaway as an establishment “where people who enjoy going to a quiet place to listen to piano can come and just sit down and relax and not be overwhelmed by the loud music… In comparison to the Stacy’s at Melrose in Phoenix, which is a really great happy hour bar and a really great dance bar on the weekends, this is a lot quieter.”
But his generous spirit is as cacophonous as a symphony.
When offered the opportunity to discuss his neighbors, Stacy’s voice swells with glee. “Absolutely! As a matter of fact, me and a couple of other bar owners, six months ago, were talking and we decided we needed to have an Arenas Association,” he recounts. “I love the community - every bar owner, retail owner, restaurant owner on the strip is a nice person. Every one of ‘em!”
Arenas Road is the vein that runs through the big, gay heart of Palm Springs, and Stacy is its poetic pulse. “It’s really concentrated, all gay. Um, well there’s one straight owned one, I think, I’m not sure about him. Hold on a minute.” He halts our interview with hilarious panache, turning to gossip about an individual business owner whose orientation remains a question mark. “Yeah, we don’t have any idea about one of ‘em, but he’s very friendly with all of us. It’s great to be able to get along and know all of the owners here.”
And getting to know Stacy is a sublime gift. Though our chat only lasts a few minutes, he liberates the details of his life with refreshing aplomb.
“As a man who came from a life that was quite sedate and married for 14 years, and then to come out 30 years ago… and to have everybody in my non-LGBTQ family, all of my relatives and all of that, be so accepting is great! And to be able to be a - I’m gonna say this with a little bit of snottiness - a frontrunner in trying to gather the bars together to do things and not just be competing against each other - I have such pride in being part of this.”
Teamwork is the cardinal philosophy behind Stacy’s success story. He surrounds himself with a trusted family of collaborators and cohorts on whom he lavishes praise with voracious verve. “Sean [Clark] the manager and I put together what we think is a spectacular bar.” Elaborating, Stacy also calls out his roster of “Good pianists that get the crowd goin’ and share their music. We’re just really proud of what we’ve done here in just over a year.”
But his ebullient humanity extends beyond just the past 12 months. Stacy’s warmth and affection have guided him through a life well lived, and led him all the way to our grateful hometown.
“It’s just a really good feeling to me to really have found myself.”
I attempt to congratulate him, but Stacy is gracious to a fault; he can’t help but respond to a compliment by sharing the love and dishing it right back.
Well served, Stacy. We owe you one.
Stacy’s @ Palm Springs | 220 E. Arenas Rd. | (760) 620-5003