Known as a multilevel nightlife mecca that quickly helped redefine New York City nightlife when they officially opened for Pride in June 2021, The Q (and owners Bob Fluet, Frankie Sharp and Alan Picus) quickly showed how their unique and individual perspectives on nightlife could come together to create a brand-new nightlife destination. Adding to the cache of The Q, investors like Jake Shears, Billy Porter, Charlie Carver, and Zachary Quinto all helped make The Q an immediate must-see space to check out during Pride of 2021, and has continued to make it a destination for everything from lush cabaret nights to classic big-room Saturday night dance parties. Now, a management split behind the scenes (coupled with an officially filed lawsuit alleging a myriad of bad business practices) is threatening to topple The Q from the top of the New York nightlife heap.
The nightlife venue that Sharp previously promised me during a conversation will “feel and look like New York does; a space for everyone” is now at the center of a myriad of accusations consisting of discrimination, massive management turnover, and allegations of drugs being permitted through the doors of The Q. Documents filed in Supreme Court of The State of New York on June 10, 2022 detail allegations direct from Frankie Sharp against his now former partners Alan Picus and Bob Fluet. Sharp’s allegations stem from an at-will clause that he alleges was added into his employment contract that was not explained completely. The public court papers go on to state that Sharp alleges that Picus told him to “Make sure your Latin nights are the good kind of Latins. Not Blatinos”. Sharp also alleges that during an interview for a potential bar manager candidate, Picus allegedly told one candidate “I don’t need to break my back to hire people just because they’re black and trans”. (The complaint can be read here in full).
I reached out to each of the men behind The Q for comment on this story. While I did not hear back from Alan Picus at press time, I received a polite “no comment” from Frankie Sharp. Bob Fluet however, did speak with me on the record for this piece. While Bob was limited as to how detailed he could speak on the extensive issues, he let me know that he has “four locations and hundreds of people that work for me and with me in this industry. When we started looking for a venue it was Alan and myself and we were looking for somebody to join us and we reached out to Frankie. The truth is, I was told to be careful and that there are demons unfortunately. Unfortunately here, (editors note-allegedly) I think his demons took control and kind of put me in a situation where I had no choice”.
Fluet went on to tell me that “There are a lot of false allegations that are being made and I didn’t know where from until I found out where from. I obviously did all of my leg work to make sure that nothing is real, which it wasn’t. I still love Frankie and consider him a friend…I needed to protect the hundreds of people that work at Q. Q is an amazing venue, and it is not just a club to us; we called it The Q for a reason. Alan and I spent two years looking for a place and it is important that I protect everyone that works there, all the talent, and well over a hundred people a week work for us. The venue has to be the priority, and what it stands for and what it means to the people in the community. Sometimes you just have to make tough decisions and that is really what comes down to”.
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