Nova ley is a very popular gay bar in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. It’s a place where the LGBTT community can freely go to hang out or eat in a very safe and accepting environment “gay friendly” is what they are calling it. This cafe/bar is an open concept, it really does not matter what sexual orientation you are from, and you can find any kind of person once you visit. But its audience mostly consists of the LGBTT people. It’s located in the heart of the town of Mayaguez so everyone from the students of Colegio to the usual habitants of this town goes there.
Café Nova Ley originally was not designed to attract the LGBTT audience. Fact is that the original concept was more for “the young professionals of the area” a place where people could go after work and have a nice dinner and a few drinks to ease the stress of hard day of labor.
When asked about the drastic change of vision on Café Nova Ley DJ art (regular DJ at Nova Ley since 2005) said that “shortly after it’s opening in 2003, (a year after to be exact) it started to receive more “gay clients” on the regular, until it became what it is today.”
Also Café Nova Ley is a very safe and secure place “there are barely any fights in here, I can just remember one or two fights and it was in the bathroom line.” Said DJ Art jokingly. “Usually people come here with their friends, their dates, to meet people of the community, out of curiosity, etc. They come and they sing in the karaoke and have some fun. Some days we even have gala events, or during the different holidays we prepare the event.”
When asked about the secret to it being such a safe place with barely any incidents, DJ Art said: “Security is very tight here, given our circumstances and cero tolerance for violence.”
Throughout the years Café Nova Ley has received a reputation of being strictly a gay bar, so the administration uses it to their advantage. They have drag queen shows, karaoke nights; the music is usually pop and upbeat. Even the drinks live up to the place, the have a wide variety of flavorful, fun “shots.”
Even though it is now well known as a “gay bar”, many straight people visit it because of the food, drinks and overall welcoming environment “I come here from time to time to hang with my friends straight or gay. I mean, the music is great and we have a blast even though I am straight, I find it a good place to come and ease the stress of Colegio.” -Hector Sanchez (Student).
“I initially hesitated to the idea of coming to a gay bar. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for the LGBTT community. I just thought I would not feel comfortable in this environment, and that the only music was going to be just techno and Lady Gaga. But when I got here it felt like a normal hang out spot, they had beer, shots and music (different types of music genres). I’m not saying it’s my favorite spot but definitely in my top 10. (The skittles shots sealed the deal.)” – Israel Baez (student)
People from across the island come to Cafe Nova Ley to see their popular Drag Queen shows. The shows consist of either talent on singing, dancing, modeling and performing music from popular artists. The most popular season is Halloween, with the costume competitions.The drag shows and events are very popular throughout Puerto Rico’s west coast. “This has become one of my favorite spots to be, one feels comfortable in this nice environment and the shots are the best!” -Luis “Pikachu” Morales. (Art student, RUM)
Cafe Nova Ley also hosts many “Queer” related events and activities for English classes in Colegio. Anything educational wise like literature, composition and also film. Students give diverse presentations on anything “queer” related. So “Nova” as people usually call it, also provides for the college community in and educational way. As well as it hosts many events (college or social related) it also accepts different college or community associations activities (queer or non queer related)
Cafe Nova Ley may host different activities for different types of purposes but it is most famous for the night life. Being one of the few gay bars nearby its LGBTT members usually consist of Colegio’s students. This means that most of the costumers are young and so the business is mostly booming during the semester. Though in the holiday off season it sometimes booms by travelers or some locals just like most bars in Mayaguez. –DJ Art confirms.
So throughout this past decade Cafe Nova Ley went from being a restaurant cafe for “young professionals” maybe on the more conservative professional line, to being one of the most popular gay bars in the town of Mayaguez. From casual sophisticated to extravagant and completely out there, it’s a very big change. Its friendly and open environment makes it appropriate for any type of person including their sexual preferences.