Remember The Duchess Dyke Bar? In its various iterations it was once the most popular venue for queer people in Second Life. When I first started visiting the place, it would always be heaving with people morning, noon or night. Then it moved location, its owner, Beebo got sick, and the place went into a bit of a decline. Live events livened the place up but only on those evenings.

The recent consensus is that “the Duchess is dead, nobody goes there anymore….”

So I decided to go there for the first time in ages and see what was going on. To my surprise, the old place is totally gone. There are no longer the MkI or MkII buildings and instead there’s a complete prefab street scene like something off the set of EastEnders or Coronation Street (British soaps for those who don’t know…)

It’s nice. It’s clean and looks great; but it was still deserted when I went there and I wonder whether people will start to go back? The interior of the bar is ostensibly the same: the same posters on the walls, the same pool table and stools. Even the ice block and fan (still, in October?) which would please Rachel no end if she knew about it!

Some months ago I suggested to both Beebo and Ellen that they should perhaps combine The Duchess and Ellen’s EBar into one venue and benefit from the traffic each brings. Looking at these buildings, there’s enough upstairs space for Ellen to remodel EBar, and there’s a nice flat roof for those long summer Monday and Wednesday jams we’ve all grown accustomed to.

I hope it thrives here. The Duchess was the first place I came in SL that had a definite women-orientation and I made many good friends from here. I guess only time will tell.