Owner Michael Cassavaugh is bringing a brand-new beachfront bar to Galveston’s Seawall with Island Time Beach Bar & Grill, an all-inclusive hotspot that features a large dance floor, outdoor deck area, and a rooftop view.
For Cassavaugh, creating safe spaces for those in the Island’s LGBTQ community has become a passion of his over the last few years, and Island Time, in the spot formerly occupied by Rumors, felt like the perfect opportunity to make that goal a reality.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with the landlord for years, and we talked in great detail about bars of the past in Galveston that focused on the whole community, and not just tourists,” he explains. “I wanted to create a space that put our community first, and that could be a gathering place for everyone. We are excited to be working with all of the LGBTQ+ bars and organizations on the Island, and we have already set up fundraisers.”
While Cassavaugh has never owned a bar before, his years of experience in the hospitality industry have prepared him for this moment. “I’ve worked in hospitality for most of my career, and have worked with both bars and restaurants throughout my life. But this is the first one I’ve owned. I also own and manage 10 vacation rentals on the Island, and I have called Galveston home for seven years.”
The bar will be home to a plethora of late-night attractions that should entice a diverse crowd, including big dance floors, outdoor seating, a spacious bar area, and food trucks on hand to feed hungry customers, Cassavaugh says.
The community reaction to his plans has been positive. “We kept the locals involved by holding open houses in the weeks and months leading up to opening, so they could see the progress and offer suggestions along the way,” he notes. “That won’t change going forward. Out of all the bar features, people seem most impressed with the air conditioning. No matter the crowd size, we are always comfortable inside. I’m very proud of the renovation. But more importantly, I’m proud of our staff.”
That staff consists of a great team led by Josh Mills. “Josh is a staple in the community, having worked in bars here for over a decade,” Cassavaugh says. “We are also lucky that we were able to convince Kymber DeVine (Kerry Chandler) to come on as our show director. She has decades of experience, is a Galveston County resident, and has done an amazing job creating a unique cast of performers, the Haus of Dolls. Haus of Dolls is made up of both queens and male performers, creating unique shows for all our guests.”
Cassavaugh is excited to show Island locals and visitors A+ service as they relax and dance during a fun night out in a safe space that allows for great conversation and fun times as people connect with each other.
“I’m hoping to create a space that’s great for locals and tourists alike,” he says. “A place for fun, a place for Pride—a place for all where we can host amazing drag shows, have great karaoke, live music, and food.”
Cassavaugh is grateful that the City of Galveston has been encouraging—a rarity in a state where so many officials currently work to discourage drag shows and LGBTQ establishments. Additionally, he says Galveston is supportive of the Third Coast PrideFest and Parade—a new four-day event involving Island gay bars beginning October 19.
“The new event is a community collaboration involving the LGBTQ+ bars and a group working with the Galveston Downtown Partnership to create an amazing PrideFest weekend,” he says. “We will have events for people of all ages, ending with a Pride parade in downtown Galveston.”
“We are also proud to be joining 23rd Street Station and Robert’s Lafitte in serving our community, and both of those bars were amazingly supportive as we were gearing up to open,” he says. “We were honored to host many of their staff and management at our opening events in early April.”
As Island Time builds up its regulars and becomes a staple of the community, Cassavaugh’s next goal is to create a gay-centric Island website.
“We have launched GayGalveston.com as a site that helps to promote all things LGBTQ+ in Galveston,” he says. “The site is a work in progress, but we are hoping to create more events throughout the year where we can all participate together. We all do better together as a community!”
For more info, visit islandtime.bar.