We talked to: The Majestic Saloon
Hi, Kayla! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and The Majestic?
Hi! I grew up in Western Massachusetts, and this area has always been very special to me. Though I lived in both Florida and Texas at various points in my life, I knew I would return here one day, which happened to be right as Covid started.
Northampton has always been a destination for me, whether I was working at the Tunnel Bar or the Deck Bar or attending events at Diva’s over the years. There have always been places to hang out—you could just spend the entire day and evening here and there was always something to do. It was sad to see how much that changed during the pandemic, but downtown is slowly reviving.
When the previous co-owner of the Majestic decided they didn’t want to reopen, I felt like it was an opportunity for me to step in and take over. I was ready for a change and a challenge—and I got both! It truly feels meant to be, and I’m so happy that I took the leap. I’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s been a dream of mine for many years—creating a safe and welcoming space for drag shows, dance parties, karaoke, and other fun and joy-filled events. And I have also made it my own, reflecting a super femme energy and vibe; I wanted it to feel like a nice warm hug as soon as you enter. I recently painted the whole bar pink, and it’s been exciting getting to decorate and feature the work of local artists on the walls, as well as decor from tag sales around the area.
What are some challenges you endured, and what are some positive things that you’ve learned/that have come out of the past two plus years?
This experience has been so out of my comfort zone, and of course there were times when I wondered if I made the right decision. I got a little backlash, but learned that if you have a vision, stay in your lane, and stick to your guns, things will blossom. I am tending a garden that is so much bigger than me. It’s so rewarding and my support system has been incredible. I feel grateful to be a part of people’s lives, and I will continue to carry the torch and help keep the spirit of Northampton going. Coming out of the pandemic, everyone needs to have a place they can go to be themselves and enjoy the times and experiences we had pre-Covid.
As business owners, what do you do to unwind/relax/rejuvenate?
As a bartender, people assume you like to go out, but I very seldom do that these days. I do love going to see live music, but during Covid, those outings dwindled. I have discovered that I like binge-watching shows, and I have currently been rewatching True Blood. I also taught myself to crochet by watching YouTube tutorials, which is something I find to be calming and rewarding. It’s nice to listen to music and just take that time to be with myself and decompress.
What are some exciting things that you have coming up, both with the venue and in general? Any events or new projects you'd like to share?
Our Queer Winter Makers Market is coming up, and will take place on December 10th from 12 to 5PM. I am excited to have various items on offer, and people can shop and feel good about supporting queer local artists/makers and knowing where their purchases are coming from. I also want to find a way for people to easily purchase the art we have on display, so that the buyers can leave with the pieces that day and the artists can immediately be paid.
We also have two drag brunches in December, on the 3rd and the 18th, and tickets will be available on Eventbrite. We are trying to iron out the details to make the second brunch a collaborative event with Building Bridges Veterans Initiative, as they have been offering free brunches for veterans on a regular basis, and we’d like to participate in that kind of offering.
Fun little new Q: what’s your favorite fall food?
I am definitely a pumpkin spice girl. And lately, anything peppermint—peppermint mocha flavored drinks are giving me life. I am also really obsessed with the vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio mini macaroons we offer here. You can just pop one and get a little boost of energy when you’re enjoying a night of dancing!