OCEANSIDE, N.Y. - Walk inside BTW, short for Born this Way, in Oceanside and feel accepted regardless of who you are or how you identify.
Owners Gina and David Wuestmann opened the bar for the LGBTQ community. The married couple is straight but considers themselves proud allies and supporters.
"People are born this way. People who think it's a choice obviously don't know the struggle," Gina Wuestmann said. "We can be whoever we want in this building, there's no judgment here."
The bar serves as a safe space that aims to be a judgment-free place for everyone to interact.
"We wanted to create a safe place for a particular community where they could relax and be themselves," David Wuestmann said.
The bar opened in November 2021, a day before New York imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants — far from an ideal time to launch, especially for a new establishment trying to make a name for itself in the community.
"It took us a while to build," Gina said. "I thought it was a good idea and it turns out it was a good idea."
And it's also a good idea according to David Kilmnick of the LGBT Network. BTW is one of just a few establishments dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community on Long Island.
"It's a place to go and have a good time without thinking about, 'Is someone looking over my shoulder to harm me whether verbally or physically,' Kilmnick said.
And there's a major sense of pride in both opening it and for respecting people's orientation. The rainbow colors are proudly displayed all year round.
"Pride month is every month," Gina said.
BTW | 3297R Long Beach Rd., Oceanside, N.Y. 11572 | 516-208-5322 | btwoceanside.com