It’s a Saturday evening and I’ve been sitting in my room all day claiming that I’ve been studying. My friends and I decide to go out. We could go to Hess and pay $10 to listen to 99.9 Virgin Radio, or we could slip beneath the earth’s surface and sizzle on the molten hot dance floor at Sous Bas.
Sous Bas is a bar located at 145 Main Street East in Hamilton. It first opened its doors this June, but started in 2015 as a pop up party series on Rebecca Street. The pop ups were started by Erika McMeekin and Kelly Seagram, who wanted to create a high quality and inclusive dance floor.
It is difficult to describe Sous Bas in one sentence, which speaks to how it is more than just a bar. The environment serves as a safe space for individuals who identify as anything. It is a place where being unique is not simply embraced, but encouraged.
Walking into Sous Bas is like walking into a house party of a close friend. Warmth lingers in the atmosphere with the personalized scented candles placed delicately around the room. Comfort is inevitable with the huge couches positioned for your friends and you to catch your breath. The environment is reminiscent of childhood sleepovers in your parents’ basement, but with an X-rated twist of sexy dance tunes.
Dancing allows me to forget daily problems and feel control on the dance floor. I don’t want societal woes like racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, sexism and body shaming to be associated with my nights out.
In Hess, I am on hyper alert with these issues and unable to enjoy myself. At Sous Bas, I literally lose myself in the music and forget where I am.
Due to my own experiences in Hess, I have been alienated from typical club scenes altogether. When I used to go out, I would not drink too much as I wanted to stay alert and ready to defend myself against predatory men. I never wore heels because I wanted to be able to run in case I needed to.
After experiencing Sous Bas, I realized that these were not required anxieties for a night out. These anxieties only came to me because of the constant discomfort I felt in Hess’ hegemonic masculine spaces full of homophobic slurs, aggressive cat calling and large absence of racial minorities.
The environment is reminiscent of childhood sleepovers in your parents’ basement, but with an X-rated twist of sexy dance tunes.
A large part of my reasons for feeling safe at Sous Bas is the prevalence of kind and supportive staff. In many clubs, bouncers are prone to power tripping and aggression. Sous Bas does not look to scare off partygoers. It expresses that it is a judgment free zone, and hate will not be tolerated. As someone who identifies as a woman, it is important to have supportive staff members that will be reliable incase of trouble.
Aside from feeling safe, I also feel able to be myself at Sous Bas. I can wear whatever I feel for that night’s look, whether that’s seven-inch heels or black sneakers, a bomb-ass jumpsuit or leggings and a t-shirt. It’s a place where my armpit hair can flow freely on the dance floor and the sparkles on my face can glisten from the majestic disco ball. The DJs are all energetic and spin musical styles such as house, hip hop, R&B, reggae, boogie, disco, funk and soca.
Sticking with importance of diversity in the club scene, Sous Bas hires a multitude of DJs. They look to hire women, people of colour and queer DJs as much as possible as these individuals are often absent from club culture. When I am on the dance floor, I feel energized and inspired watching women curate amazing sets.
Sous Bas has a lot to offer to its partygoers. To be certain the theme for the night fits who you are, you can find descriptions of what each DJ will be playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Facebook and Instagram @Sousbas. Bring your friends, a good attitude and most importantly, a towel to wipe up all the sweat from dancing.