The Detour

By Joshua Kahn

Once located at 4601 Killam Avenue the Detour was a dance bar owned by Tony Pritchard and operated by Tony and Chuck Wallerich. Formally known as the College Cue Club it took the name the Detour after being bought by Tony in March of 1993. The Cue Club had been primarily known for its drag shows, so Tony chose the name Detour to try and butch up the image while also getting away from the drag shows. The initial intent was to draw in the leather crowd but since there isn’t a big leather crowd in Norfolk that didn’t work to well, so it drew just a general-purpose group. It only stayed as a “leather” bar for about six months before the Detour changed to a more unban black format.

The Detour didn’t change look wise that much when it transferred over from the Cue
Club, it was a single story, concrete and brick box that was painted black and red on the inside. When you walk in there was a desk where they would check IDs, to the right of that there was a large area that once held a grand piano because the Cue Club was also known for having a pianist perform every so often. The bathrooms were behind the piano but if you kept going straight you would get to the bar and dance floor area. The bar was long, and the dance floor was easily 20+ square feet, raised by a few steps and was lit from beneath. There was a DJ booth in the corner and a raised area where there were tables and chair for the restaurant.The atmosphere didn’t change much when it transferred from the Cue Club, the drag queens still came, and they still did shows but Tony tried to de-emphasis that.

While open, Chuck Wallerich who was the manager at the Detour and very community
oriented, used the space to host events for the community and for organizations like the Hope House Foundation which he donated to repeatedly. He also used it as a meeting space for a local organization called the Knight Hawks of Virginia, who are a leather/BDSM group, which he was the president of. In the year 1993 the Knight Hawks had their first big event at the Detour, but shortly there after the bar changed formats because Tony Pritchard wasn’t ok with the amount of business that was coming in. The change to an urban black format is thought to be the turning point for the Detour because there were so many other bars that had the same format that there was to much competition. As a result, business started to decline and in 1995 a little staple in the Norfolk gay bar scene closed its doors and is now a parking lot for Old Dominion University.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *