Bar Babe of the Week: John at The West End

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This Bar Babe is actually not remotely a bartender…. John Daniel Forslund is the operator of the West End, and is about to engage in a massive battle for the future of that venue. Find out how you can help!


Bar that I work at: I have been operating The West End Lounge since 2014 after producing shows at The Duplex for 4 years.

What makes this bar great: Our team & our customers, of course! You are nothing without loyal followers and you are only as good as your weakest link, so it’s best not to have any!

Best drink I make: Are you kidding? I am the furthest thing from a bartender – that’s why I have people like Peter Dunn!

I love it when customers: Take the time to approach me and share their honest, genuine thoughts on our service and programming – good or bad.

I hate it when customers: Take the time to approach me and pretend that we are best friends, for that five minute period, to ask for free drinks.

Craziest thing I’ve seen here: The list is long. Jim … the list is long. Most recently, it was probably an on-stage protest about cultural appropriation, inspired by twerking, in the middle of Nicole Onoscopi’s Thursday night drag show. The drinking game came to a screeching halt, and the drag queen was lectured in front of a sold-out live audience. But she handled it with grace and humor.

Other places I’ve worked: The West End is my blood, sweat, and tears. It’s hard to even remember a time before it was part of my life, to be honest. But before I got into the Bar and Venue business, I was (and still am) a Producer of musical theatre and nightlife, and was an actor for most of my life before that.

My hometown: Keller, Texas, but I have been here for 15 years

Stuff I do when I’m not bartending: Again; it’s cute that you think I would make a good bartender!

Single or Taken: You would have to ask Michael

Who/what turns me on: HGTV and Jason Statham movies

Favorite music: I’ve never purchased an album in my life, aside from Broadway cast recordings… which I suppose is embarrassing now that I admit that.

Favorite movie or TV show: Big Brother (and when the time comes, and I can walk away from The West End for 100 days, I will go on and win the show)

Favorite drag queen: This is really a very unfair question, since I have become known for cultivating an entire drag scene uptown in NYC. My first ever drag show starred  Schwa de Vivre, and then Alexis Michelle, and over time we had the likes of Brita FilterTerra HymanNedra BelleShuga CainMarti Gould CummingsLagoona Bloo, and so many more join the ranks. I honestly don’t think I can even answer this question, other than to say I admire and revere any drag queen that takes a chance on our humble stage at 107th Street. I am a huge Marti fan though, I can say that.

My drag name would be: Let’s not open that can of worms again! That was a failed experiment in 2015.

Favorite gogo boy: I don’t think I could even name one… I live in a bubble on the Upper West Side, as I also handle the entire programming for my venue. I wish I had the energy and interest in going out more on the weekends, but my weekends are usually spent renovating the house or being upstate in the Catskills.

Favorite DJ: I’ve always enjoyed working with DJ Mikey Mo.  He is professional, he cares about the venues perception of his work as well as the guests, and he has always been supportive of all we do up here. I would say the same about Steve Sidewalk.

Other stuff you need to know about me: We are currently dealing with some Community Board issues, which were brought on by my long time desire to buy out my business partner. NYC has a long history of nightlife and a vibrant flourishing artistic scene–so for the neighbors to continuously try and stifle this has been heartbreaking. Their voices have been heard, and we are in the fight of our lives with the Liquor Authority… so we would appreciate any and all support to show up on Wednesday October 10th at 6:30pm to the Community Board 7 Offices at 250 West 87th Street and show support for us staying alive on the Upper West Side!

Follow me on: Facebook


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