Jeff Powell, wearing his baseball cap flipped backwards, lights up a Marlboro Light in the upstairs bar of Blake’s on the Park. It’s early on a Saturday night, so the Midtown bar is not jam-packed with people. He and his friends are tossing back beers and cocktails as drag star Charlie Brown sashays past.
“I’m a very conscious smoker,” Powell said. “I’m aware of my surroundings. I want to be conscious of nonsmokers and don’t want to offend anyone.”
Blake’s allows smoking throughout the two-story bar, but in the past few months, several other gay bars have announced they are prohibiting smoking or only allowing smoking in a designated area. Powell said he has no problem with that.
Christopher Mitchell and Robert Keller met more than a decade ago when the couple shared a brief romance. But things were not meant to be. At least, not back then.
“We parted ways back in 2001,” Mitchell says. “We were not old enough for that kind of commitment. We did not see each other for a little over a decade.”
And what a difference a decade can make. Almost by happenstance, the two met again for a lunch date and fell head-over-heels in love a little over two years ago, Mitchell says.
The couple decided to marry and drove to Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriages can be legally performed. They tied the knot in a small, private ceremony on Dec. 28, 2012.