Thurst Lounge, Washington D.C.’s new and only Black-owned LGBTQ+ lounge, celebrated a successful grand opening by announcing exciting plans for the future.

As previously reported by Blavity, entrepreneurs Brandon Burke and Shaun Mykals opened Thurst Lounge to give Black LGBTQ+ residents a space to socialize and feel a sense of belonging.

When the lounge opened its doors on Dec. 2, 2023, Burke and Mykals were shocked by the immense outpouring of support they received. In an interview with ABC7 News, the lounge owners recounted their disbelief at the number of people who attended the launch.

“We knew that people were interested and wanted to have a space like ours, but the amount of people that showed up was crazy. We did not expect it to be like that…which was amazing,” Burke told the outlet.

When the outlet asked what contributed to such a large turnout, Burke said there was a “thurst.”

“Our name. Thurst,” Mykals said. “There has been a literal thirst for a space like ours to be in this area and other areas as well… but we knew that for ourselves, and that’s why we created this space.”

Housed in the old Sakerum Restaurant in the 14th Street corridor, just north of U Street, the two-story establishment includes a bar with a retractable roof and a separate D.J. booth for events. 

As close friends and longtime advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, Burke and Mykals have become reasonably known for their popular event, “Thursday Bliss: An Open Mic Experience,” which they’ve promised to bring to their new location.


“We’re going to have more D.J.s coming through from different areas because having that music, that vibe, is really a big part of who we are…We just did a whole Philly takeover weekend where all the D.J.s were from Philly. So we’ll do things like that going forward,” Burke shared with the outlet.


With a clear and powerful vision, the business partners believe the success of Thurst can be a helpful model for other Black and brown LGBTQ+ business owners. 

Burke and Mykals also hope to create avenues for residents to discuss pressing issues facing the area. 

“We want to have conversation types of events–talking about things that are going on in the community,” Burke said, according to ABC7.

The Council of the District of Columbia recognized the Thurst founders for their commitment to elevating Black and brown residents in a Ceremonial Resolution, in November 2023.

“The owners of Thurst are demonstrating their commitment to fostering authenticity by acknowledging the increased need for Black and Brown people of D.C.’s queer community to have spaces that center and recognize their unique experiences,” the document read.

If Thurst is, according to its website, a “love letter to D.C.’s black queer community,” then the community has answered back with a resounding “Thank you.” 

“Thurst is our love letter to DC’s Black queer community. We wanted to create a space that represents and honors the unique and culturally rich black gay experience. As a community, we deserve so much more than just special nights or events at spaces that do not center our experience,” the two said in a joint statement, per Blavity.