Top or Bottom (Floor that is), Something For Everyone

GayPV talks to Mike Owens about his journey to PV and creating the town’s newest gay bars: THERAPY and STUDS opening in May 2022.

GayPV: Welcome to PV! Tell us a little about yourself:
Mike Owens: Thank you, and I appreciate you letting me introduce myself to our local Vallarta friends & family! I am from the United States and grew up in a beach town in North Carolina called Wilmington. As an adult, I moved all over the United States for my career with a large insurance company. I’ve lived in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Baltimore, but I was in Phoenix, Arizona, most recently. I was married right out of college and had four great boys who all live in the US but visit Vallarta as often. They love it here and are learning why I made Puerto Vallarta my home! I am single and live with my dog, Riley, a 2-year-old Golden doodle. You may have seen me walking with him around town. He is a amazing companion. I now know why they say A dog is a man’s best friend!

GayPV: Why did you decide to move to Vallarta?
MO: I first visited Vallarta in 2018 after the end of a 20-year relationship with my husband. While I came to get a little rest, relaxation, and clear my head, I had no idea how much I would instantly fall in love with our wonderful town. By the end of my first visit, I said to myself someday, when I retire, I want this to be my home. I truly had no hesitation about permanently leaving the US and making Mexico my adopted home country. I had not expected to retire for at least another five years, but after returning back to the US, I found myself wanting to be in Vallarta every day and visiting numerous times a year, making great friendships along the way. Then, during the pandemic, I realized how volatile life and the best-made plans truly are for each of us. So, I came to Vallarta and worked remotely for most of 2020. After just a few short months, I could not imagine going back to Phoenix to live. So, I retired early from a long corporate career, took a year off to settle into my new home, and enjoyed everyday life in the most wonderful city in the world – Puerto Vallarta!
 
GayPV: What is your mission in Vallarta and what would you like to contribute to the LGBT community?
MO: It is simple I want to be a meaningful part of the community that I love. Giving the locals, and the visitors, to our town the opportunity to experience Puerto Vallarta in a way that they may not have done before. The nightlife that is offered here is amazing, and I would like to contribute with two new fun and exciting bars, THERAPY & STUDS. But, I also want to introduce our local friends and visitors to a way to support our community while enjoying everything that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. In 1995, I lost my younger brother to AIDS, and in 2011, I was diagnosed with cancer; these two events forever changed me. So, philanthropy has been a cornerstone in my life for many years. In fact, my first tattoo says In The End, Strive To Have Given More Than You Receive & and a color map of Mexico underneath is a symbol of my commitment to having a positive impact on my new adopted home country.

I created a company called BarWorksMX. My goal with BarWorksMX is to use THERAPY and STUDS to provide an amazing party atmosphere while supporting local charities that I think do so much good for our community. I am involved in several great charities here in Vallarta. A portion of our sales will go to support the great work of SETAC, setac.com.mx, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and supporting those most at risk or living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, we will also give a portion of our sales to CANICA,  afvac.org. CANICA is a non-profit organization that supports children and youth living with cancer in Jalisco.

GayPV: Can you tell us more about THERAPY?
MO: THERAPY is a straight-friendly, multi-concept location. The party starts at Therapy Lounge, where our sexy Therapists will provide you with the best food & beverage service, awesome music, gourmet bites; amazing craft cocktails designed by a well-known mixologist from San Diego, CA. Here, from 5 pm to 10 pm, you can catch up with old friends and meet new ones while enjoying great music; but that is just the beginning of the party. Around 10 pm, THERAPY After Dark will kick into high gear! We will have both national and international DJs providing the catalyst to dance to the best beats in town! So, whether you want a traditional drink or a specialty craft cocktail, THERAPY After Dark will provide the best venue in Zona Romantica to party until 3 am! There will also be special events to experience, such as a show tune party and live performances for both THERAPY Lounge and THERAPY After Dark. Additionally, we will be excited to introduce later this year, THERAPY Brunch, where you will be treated to a gourmet brunch like no other in Zona Romantica!

STUDS, while on the second floor of the same building as THERAPY (Calle Basilio Badillo 283) is a totally different concept. STUDS offers a completely separate and private entrance to men only. While there are lots of great bars in Vallarta, one thing that was missing is a place dedicated to those men interested in the Bear and Leather community. STUDS will offer a place for the Bear Leather community to gather and enjoy great drinks and amazing dance music from some of the best DJs to be found. We will host special events that will allow men to explore their interests and fetishes in an exciting new way. There will be hot dancers in cages, a pole to see guys showing off their acrobatic talents, and a store to buy gear, including our own STUDS line of harnesses and jocks. We are also excited to introduce Vallarta to Studs Beer Bust this year.

    

GayPV: Why do you think it is important for Puerto Vallarta to have a bar like STUDS?
MO: Unfortunately, the Bear & Leather community in Mexico has been overlooked for too long. But thankfully, that is changing, and STUDS hopes to be a big part of that change here in Zona Romantica. The body-affirming message from this community provides a safe place for men of all shapes, sizes and races to express themselves. It is very exciting to see Puerto Vallarta becoming one of the premier destinations in the world for this unique community through the many special events and organizations hosting parties for this expanding group of men.

GayPV: Can you give us a preview of what the opening night will be like?
MO: At THERAPY, our exciting grand opening will be Friday, May 20th. We will highlight two of our three concepts; THERAPY Lounge and THERAPY After Dark! THERAPY Lounge will provide great music, live entertainment, celebratory toast, and gourmet bites with signature cocktails. During THERAPY After Dark, you will experience the best in-house dance music, celebratory toasts, and many shots in a friendly, inclusive environment. You will feel right at home in the new hot spot in the Romantic Zone. You will experience two concepts at the same party where the DJ will gradually increase the beats and happenings from THERAPY Lounge to THERAPY After Dark. The third concept, THERAPY Brunch will begin in October.

At STUDS bear bar, the grand opening is Saturday, May 21st. We are bringing sexy back with our grand opening party, where we will have gogo bear dancers performing in cages under laser lights, our DJ playing tech-house music, and sexy beats that will make you want to say Woof! So, put on your harness, get ready to feel the heat, and unleash your fetishes because Studs is taking over PV. By the way, if you don’t have a harness, do not worry! We have made an alliance with Sporco, a premium Mexican leather designer, and we will have STUDS brand harnesses, jockstraps, and more for sale inside the bar. So, there are no excuses if you want to be part of the leather scene in Puerto Vallarta.

GayPV: Do you have any big plans for the upcoming PRIDE celebration?
MO: We are working on an exciting partnership with Bearadise, a premium Bear event brand. Therapy and Studs are working together to provide the venues for the Bear Pride Vallarta 2022 along with Bearadise and a couple of other brands. On Thursday, be prepared for the Vallarta Bears Float, a thrilling afternoon and evening with music, drinks, and lots of surprises during the parade. We will have our first Bear Party during the evening, where Therapy will open its doors for our bear brothers to celebrate along with STUDS bear bar.
From Thursday to Sunday, we will be hosting the Bear Pride Celebrations, so if you like great music, sexy bears, bear lovers, leather harnesses, and fun, join us and let Therapy & Studs amaze you.

GayPV: What are your future plans in Vallarta?
MO: I guess I would say Stay tuned! THERAPY & STUDS are exciting new ventures that we are entirely focused on, and I am so happy to see these venues grow and become part of the fabric of the LGBT community here in Vallarta. But we have potential to do so much more. I want to explore more ways to give back to my new adopted hometown of Puerto Vallarta, and I'm committed to doing my part to enhance the lives of those that call Puerto Vallarta home!

     

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