Meet Steven Fahd: The man behind Gold Coast’s new queer venue


Hairy Mary's on the Gold Coast owner Steven Fahd is in a grey singlet with his LGBTQIA+ bar in the background

Steven Fahd is the owner of Gold Coast’s new LGBTQIA+ venue Hairy Mary’s. He spoke to QNews about creating safe venues for the community and his hopes for this new venture. 

I meet Steven in his newly opened bar Hairy Mary’s on the Gold Coast. 

He is incredibly welcoming and jovial as we sit down to chat about his life and the new venue. 

It’s clear he’s very comfortable with who he is and proud of his place in the LGBTQIA+ community.

However, it wasn’t always that way.

Sydney beginnings

Steven grew up in the western Sydney suburbs as a “good catholic Lebanese boy” and was set on a path of what was expected of him. 

He married young but clearly knew it wasn’t for him when he moved his male lover in under the same roof as his wife.

Unsurprisingly the marriage didn’t last and he began exploring a new gay world a little later than most. 

“It wasn’t until I got into my early thirties that I started going out and enjoying the scene, and being part of it,” he said. 

“Back then it was different. It was more underground, we were just starting to become even more liberated.”

But even though Steven was involved in the scene, he hadn’t fully embraced the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“I accepted the fact that I was a gay man but that seemed kind of scary to me. All my friends were straight, so I hardly ever connected, communicated or went out with gay men, whatsoever,” he said. 

 

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A post shared by Hairy Mary’s (@hairymarysgc)

Creating Sircuit in Melbourne

All that changed with a change of scene. It was a metamorphosis from the constraints of his home city to the unbridled freedom Melbourne offered. 

“That was when my whole life switched and then community became part of it,” he explains. 

Steven found the leather scene and began working for Melbourne legend Bill Saunders at the sex-on-site venue Club 80. 

He then met his now ex-partner and the pair travelled throughout Europe discovering the different types of clubs and venues across the continent. 

They wanted to bring some of that to Melbourne. 

They identified a large LGBTQIA+ community in the inner northern suburbs but not enough venues to create a village-type atmosphere. Steven was determined to find the right venue to create that safe area for the community. 

“I was driving up Peel Street heading towards Smith, and I turn left. There was this big sign on the side of the building for lease. I looked at it, rang my ex-partner up and said we found it. This is what we’re doing,” he says. 

The venue, which was run down and needed a great deal of work, would become Sircuit. 

Sircuit quickly became a go-to venue and helped develop that area of Melbourne to become the new gay centre of the city. 

The goal for Steven wasn’t just about the success of the business but also creating something that had a purpose.

“I was trying to educate the community about our culture and our history. Because we have, as a community, an important history. If people my age or older don’t share that it’s just going to drift away,” he says. 

“It’s important that venues are actually doing something that gives back to the community. Drag queens and drag shows, are such a big part of it. It’s listening to those stories, and realising fuck, we all do need each other, to hold each other up and protect each other.” 

A move to the Gold Coast

Steven finished up with Sircuit and after a few years moved north to the sunny Gold Coast.

He quickly immersed himself in the community and decided that he wanted to run a gay-owned and operated venue there.

 

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A post shared by Hairy Mary’s (@hairymarysgc)

He heard most people wanted a venue to “feel safe and not gawked at” like some previous bars in busier parts of the coast. 

After an exhaustive search, he found the perfect venue. It was a rundown building in a private area that was still central and easily accessible for patrons. 

Steven then battled for two years with extensive council red tape and expensive renovations to finally bring his dream of opening up ‘Hairy Mary’s’ into reality. 

And why the name?

He explains that with any coffee order, he always gives the name “Mary”.

“So we were thinking of names, and my friend said ‘You’re kind of hairy aren’t you’ and then we joked I was a “Hairy Mary” and that was it,” he says. 

Opening Hairy Mary’s 

The venue had its launch last month and is already building up a loyal following. 

“Friday Saturday nights are flat out, they’re busy which is nice to see, the community has embraced it,” he says. 

However, just like his previous venues, community and giving back lies at the heart of what Steven is building. 

He points to a mural of text on the wall opposite which is the Hairy Mary’s mantra. 

Welcome to our place. Your place. Where everyone is welcome. A place that celebrates you and everything about you. A safe space without judgement or labels, where we can all let our hair down,” he reads out loud. 

“That’s what I would like to happen here.”

 

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A post shared by Hairy Mary’s (@hairymarysgc)

When I ask what he hopes for the future, he says something unexpected for a businessman: “I want to see other venues open up here.”

“It creates safety for the community. I’d love to see gay flags hanging off buildings, it gives a sense of community and belonging, having somewhere to go that is that space,” he explains. 

The venue is due to start barbeque fundraisers for community groups alongside many other events including drag shows, trivia and themed nights. 

It’s all supported by a bar team that Steven says has already embraced the Hairy Mary’s mantra. 

“Within three weeks, there’s like a little family going on. That’s important for my patrons to know that our staff get along. There’s a whole lot of love that’s going on there,” he says. 

From his own life it’s clear Steven understands the importance of what a venue can give a local queer community. 

His experience and his fight to open the venue shows that the future of the Gold Coast scene is in safe, and hairy, hands. 

Visit hairymarys.com.au for more information on the new venue. 

Read next:

Gold Coast Pride Festival is getting even bigger this year

New Gold Coast gay bar Hairy Mary’s opens this week

Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

2 Comments

  1. Dave
    15 March 2024
    Reply

    Great article, we absolutely love this venue and go every week! So so great to have a queer safe space on the Goldy again <3

  2. Roger
    16 March 2024
    Reply

    love the article, have been to Hairy Marys and will go again even though being old the music is rather too loud for me, but all gay people on the Gold Coast should be glad they now have a place to go to which is gay safe and friendly. Steve is such a kind person as well as being a real hunk. I do hope other gay venues will open so that there are places for gay people of all ages.
    I thank Steve for opening Hairy Marys and I also thank Andy and Colin for starting up Gold Coast Gay Group, badly needed as nothing much up here for the gay sector.

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