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What was the first gay bar you went to, and what did you think of it?

I went to The Dock in Cincinnati.

I was nervous as hell when I went in. And pretty quickly realized how nice it was to be 20 something, new and gay.

by Anonymousreply 246November 27, 2022 2:28 AM

The Stud, San Francisco. Loved it.

by Anonymousreply 1July 15, 2022 11:57 PM

The Bell in Hackensack, N.J.

by Anonymousreply 2July 15, 2022 11:59 PM

Interbelt in Akron, OH for their Tops & Bottoms party. The first time I ever made out with a random guy, too.

by Anonymousreply 3July 16, 2022 12:01 AM

Class Act in Morgantown, WV.

by Anonymousreply 4July 16, 2022 12:01 AM

The San Antonio Country. The experience confirmed everything I already knew about myself. I was home.

by Anonymousreply 5July 16, 2022 12:04 AM

Heaven, under the arches at Charing Cross. London

by Anonymousreply 6July 16, 2022 12:06 AM

“Soho” in Amsterdam. Back when smoking inside was totally normal.

Loved it, as it has multiple floors and it is such an old-timey place.

by Anonymousreply 7July 16, 2022 12:07 AM

Murphy's in Newark, NJ

by Anonymousreply 8July 16, 2022 12:11 AM

Berlin in Chicago

by Anonymousreply 9July 16, 2022 12:13 AM

The Frat House in Dallas, TX, mid-80’s. Bar/disco. I and my gay and gay-ish friends went with fake IDs, several times. We were high school juniors.

Each time we got drunk and had a ball (but kept to ourselves). Lots of fun and drama.

by Anonymousreply 10July 16, 2022 12:16 AM

Biem Peter in Köln, Germany. I was 16 and shaking like a mouse. I had one beer and left. It was a leather bar and scared me.

The first American one was Legends in Raleigh, NC. Loved it and spent almost a decade in it and others before I realized that hanging out based on shared interests and values, not a shared sexual orientation, was a better way to meet people and have fun.

by Anonymousreply 11July 16, 2022 12:16 AM

The El Goya. Ybor City Tampa Fl. Five different bars under one roof. Ended up working there two years.

by Anonymousreply 12July 16, 2022 12:22 AM

Little Gay Bar On The Prairie

by Anonymousreply 13July 16, 2022 12:23 AM

Mr. Henry's in Georgetown. It was only gay some of the time. I used to drop in after walking the Block on Friday nights, if I hadn't picked someone up. The first time, I went home with a guy, and while we were kissing, I knocked his partial plate loose from his upper palate. I thought I'd broken his mouth somehow.

I tried picking someone up at the Mr. Henry's near George Washington U. once, but that one wasn't gay. Oops!

by Anonymousreply 14July 16, 2022 12:27 AM

The first one was Club Cafe in Boston in 2002? I never felt very comfortable in any club to be honest. I can count on both hands the number of times. My favorite by far was a place called Campus in Cambridge- That place was fun and I actually danced.

by Anonymousreply 15July 16, 2022 12:28 AM

The Brook in Westport, CT

by Anonymousreply 16July 16, 2022 12:30 AM

It was a small neighborhood gay bar in Garden Grove, CA (Orange County) in 1982-83. I don't remember its name. It was early afternoon and and the place was friendly and low-key.

The first nightclub-type gay bar I went to was Newport Station in Newport Beach. I was a punk rocker back then and my friends called it an S&M bar (Stand and Model). We didn't fit in particularly well!

There were so many gay bars/clubs in Long Beach and Orange County back then. Garden Grove alone had more than a dozen and now I think there's only one left.

by Anonymousreply 17July 16, 2022 12:38 AM

The Oz in New Orleans. I was nervous walking in and didn't really know how to react to the dancers. So I mostly sat quietly at the bar.

by Anonymousreply 18July 16, 2022 12:39 AM

It was a little bar in Phoenix called Winks. Really tiny building. Someone slapped my butt as I walked in the east door and I kept on walking out the north door, got in my car and left. I hated it so much I drove right back.

by Anonymousreply 19July 16, 2022 12:44 AM

Twin Peaks and Elephant Walk on a trip to SF in my 20’s. I did it big, for me anyway. Met a nice older gent who showed me all around for a couple of days.

by Anonymousreply 20July 16, 2022 12:45 AM

Rawhide. Loved it.

by Anonymousreply 21July 16, 2022 12:47 AM

Thursday nights at the Ramada Inn - Casper Wyoming

by Anonymousreply 22July 16, 2022 12:49 AM

Campus, in Cambridge, MA.

by Anonymousreply 23July 16, 2022 12:50 AM

The Officers Club, Camp Lejeune, NC

by Anonymousreply 24July 16, 2022 12:51 AM

Uncle Charlie's. On Halloween. I had just moved to NYC and felt like Dorothy landing in Oz.

by Anonymousreply 25July 16, 2022 12:53 AM

I forget what it was called. I was conflicted and terrified. As I opened the door a song was blasting the words “it’s a sin! It’s a sin! It’s a sin!” and I ran away as fast as my legs could carry me.

by Anonymousreply 26July 16, 2022 12:56 AM

The Old Plantion in Akron

by Anonymousreply 27July 16, 2022 1:00 AM

Falcon’s Lair on Highland in LA. I was only 18 (not legal age in California), but I had no trouble. Soon afterwards, I also started going to the Eagle on Santa Monica Blvd.

by Anonymousreply 28July 16, 2022 1:01 AM

The Rage in Birmingham, Alabama mid 1980s. The first person I saw was this gorgeous girl dancing towards me and laughing at the top of her lungs while saying “Mitch, it’s me Valerie! Don’t you still love me?”

Turns our she was the girl I used to get in trouble for trying to kiss in first grade. She had moved and I hadn’t seen her in almost 11 years... and was now a beautiful, femme lesbian and we danced all night. It was wonderful and she made any nervousness I had fall completely away

by Anonymousreply 29July 16, 2022 1:10 AM

Trends/The Garage in Columbus Ohio.

Long gone, but to this day, one of my favorite bar combos.

by Anonymousreply 30July 16, 2022 1:12 AM

Also the Dock in Cincinnati for me. I didn't enjoy it - guys walking around in a circle sizing you up is what I remember. I never went to a gay bar again.

by Anonymousreply 31July 16, 2022 1:15 AM

Sporters in Boston. It was like being in a candy store.

by Anonymousreply 32July 16, 2022 1:23 AM

Sweet Gum Head, Atlanta, 1974. I thought it was heaven.

by Anonymousreply 33July 16, 2022 1:26 AM

Uncle Charlie's in the Village. I was terrified the gays would pounced on me and make me do unspeakable things. As it turned out as gayling me grew up, i didn't need to be made to do any of that.

by Anonymousreply 34July 16, 2022 1:42 AM

It's a longer story that I've told here before. It was Keller's, on the corner of West Street and Barrow, in NYC. I was with a bunch of straight people and somehow got them to go in for a beer. It was empty and I spun around and hightailed it out of there. All I remember is that the song playing when we walked in - the first song I ever heard in a gay bar - was Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band's 'Cherchez La Femme.' I was 22 and closeted.

The next time I was in a gay bar, I was 28 and it was in Lake Ronkonkoma, on Long Island in NY. I think it was called 'Kiss'? I remember that the first song I heard was 'The Boss."

by Anonymousreply 35July 16, 2022 1:43 AM

First gay bar was the long-vanished Power Company in Durham NC when I was a student at Duke University, c. 1988. Had a fun night out.

by Anonymousreply 36July 16, 2022 1:50 AM

R28 Since I left my first comment, I’ve been sauntering down Memory Lane. Another of my favorite bars when I was young was The Stud on Melrose in East Hollywood. The first bar on this site was founded by Sid Luft, and Judy Garland left her handprint and signature on a wet concrete slab. I never actually saw this since it was behind the bar somewhere and that sort of thing didn’t interest me in those days. Apparently the bar was called the Red Rouge when it first opened (before my time). I was on the UCLA swim team and I ran into one of my teammates on one of my first visits. He was a great little bottom and one of the strongest links on our relay team.

by Anonymousreply 37July 16, 2022 1:57 AM

It was a bar in Baltimore called Mary's. It was a small bar that you went down steps outside to get in. My new lesbian friend took me there. I was 18 and just on the verge of coming out. Some older guy tried to pick me up. He showed me poppers as we played the bowling machine. I was so terrified and angry that I kept getting strikes. After that, I demanded that my friend and I leave. That was 1977. I went back many times once the terror wore off and actually met some nice people there. It's long gone now.

by Anonymousreply 38July 16, 2022 2:09 AM

Judy Garland / Red Rouge / The Stud /Faultline

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 39July 16, 2022 2:10 AM

The Townhouse on 58th Street, around 89 or 90. I had just recently come out and I went one Friday after work. Mostly older guys in their 30s and 40s were trying to buy me drinks, but I went looking for guys in early to mid 20s like me.

by Anonymousreply 40July 16, 2022 2:10 AM

Rounds. I was excited to discover I could not only quit my campus job, I could jet away every holiday like my rich friends did.

by Anonymousreply 41July 16, 2022 2:12 AM

OP, r31, it was The Dock for me too! And yes, I remember the endless walking "the loop" from the front bar, middle bar and then dance floor and back bar looking at the same guys every weekend lol. I left Cincinnati in 1987 and have never gone back.

by Anonymousreply 42July 16, 2022 2:21 AM

The Limelight disco in Montreal. Like stumbling into heaven.

by Anonymousreply 43July 16, 2022 2:29 AM

I would say the first gay bar I was ever in was the one my Uncle Owned. It was never officially a gay bar. Just a small neighborhood kind of bar, It was called Doug's hideaway. the sign depicted a characterization of my uncle peeking out from behind a tree. He had daily lunch specials waited on by an Aids riddled twink named Jimmy. My mother bartended so I got to enjoy the big beefy sausages on special. Aside from the obvious slapping me in the face My Uncle was kind of a homophobic A-hole. he had no problem calling me a little fag.

by Anonymousreply 44July 16, 2022 2:45 AM

Feathers in River Edge, NJ

by Anonymousreply 45July 16, 2022 2:47 AM

R44 = a tv pilot

by Anonymousreply 46July 16, 2022 2:58 AM

r17 I'm shocked to hear how many gay bars there were in Orange County! I grew up in OC and we (in the late 80s) always heard that all the gay bars were in Laguna Beach! I was in High School in the 80s.

When I was freshman, I had a "straight" friend who was FIFTEEN and he would talk about taking a bus to Laguna and going to bars to "party", which he would brag about. I had no idea he was going to GAY bars and getting picked up by older men!!! I just thought he was a badass party guy! Sadly, he caught The Aids. The rest is history.

by Anonymousreply 47July 16, 2022 3:51 AM

Harlee’s Playroom Two - Yonkers , N. Y.- Winter ❄️ of 1992.

by Anonymousreply 48July 16, 2022 3:55 AM

R40- You should have gone to the Works back then- a good looking crowd in their twenties and thirties.

by Anonymousreply 49July 16, 2022 3:58 AM

Oh god R12 ! I ADORED El Goya ! Hadnt heard it mentioned in years ! One Halloween night me and a dear friend dressed up as mermaids,complete with B52 wigs and sequined fishtails .It was a legendary night . But I digress. The very first gay bar I walked into was a dyke bar called Little Dude. The owner was a grouchy old lez with a sex change wife,and she immediately took to my 14 year old little ass.What a different world it was in 1974.

by Anonymousreply 50July 16, 2022 3:59 AM

1270 in Boston, 1992. Thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

by Anonymousreply 51July 16, 2022 4:17 AM

The Broadway in Denver

by Anonymousreply 52July 16, 2022 4:21 AM

Cleo's in Claudiopolis, Turkey. I met, Antinous, the love of my life there.

by Anonymousreply 53July 16, 2022 4:29 AM

Lounge of Enlil. Expensive fermented grain water. Cheap temple prostitutes though! Those were the days!

by Anonymousreply 54July 16, 2022 4:38 AM

Well...smell r41!

by Anonymousreply 55July 16, 2022 4:40 AM

Babylon in Redondo Beach California for those that were too straight for WeHo or just didn't want to make the drive and deal with 405 traffic and parking

by Anonymousreply 56July 16, 2022 4:40 AM

Heaven. I thought it was.

by Anonymousreply 57July 16, 2022 4:52 AM

the Graduate in tucson az

by Anonymousreply 58July 16, 2022 5:01 AM

The Bar in Lexington, KY for after hours while I was still in high school.

by Anonymousreply 59July 16, 2022 5:22 AM

R29, do you remember The Gizmo on 22nd Street? That was my first bar in 1985. I was 17 and went with my gay BFF. We were seniors in high school and had shitty fake IDs, but nobody cared. Oh, and we were both in full drag. 🤣

by Anonymousreply 60July 16, 2022 5:45 AM

I think mine was probably Fritz in Boston. I’d been back there so many times since, I can’t remember exactly how I felt on my first visit. I was young and still in the closet, so I’m sure I was nervous and scared and feeling like I was walking into some type of dangerous hustler venue.

It turned out to be totally benign, full of sad old aunties nursing vodka/tap waters. As I said, I returned many many times. I’d found my chosen family. I even managed to steal a few of their branded cocktail glasses before they went belly up.

by Anonymousreply 61July 16, 2022 5:58 AM

The Elephant Walk in SF (now Harvey's). I was an18 year-old virgin in 1980 and had a UC Santa Cruz student ID that said I was 22, but no one carded me. OMFG, I wasn't sure I was gay when I walked in, but knew that "these people" were my tribe. I'd recently gotten braces off my teeth and got contact lenses. After one gin and tonic (it sounded like an "adult" drink to order at the bar -- I was so nervous), I was kind of drunk and decided to go down the block for a haircut since I had long, wavy 70's hair and everyone else had short hair, as some funny/flirty guy pointed out. The barber also trimmed my fu-manchu moustache and my bushy Greek unibrows. He noticed that I could not stop staring at his chest hair in the mirror. I went back to the Elephant Walk and had another gin and tonic, feeling like I "belonged". Didn't know it, but I was becoming a Castro Clone. So many guys were giving me the once over and were all smiley. No one had ever looked at me like that before. It was intimidating because everyone was older. It felt like a big party where everyone was happy to see me!

Back at Santa Cruz, some girls in my dorm started hitting on me, asking me to go out on dates, so I started feeling the pressure to get off the fence. I finally had sex with a guy from one of my classes. And I was no longer on the fence.

by Anonymousreply 62July 16, 2022 6:02 AM

The Monster in NYC. I felt the usual mix of nervousness and exhilaration.

by Anonymousreply 63July 16, 2022 6:06 AM

The Garage, 1986, Columbus, OH.

by Anonymousreply 64July 16, 2022 6:12 AM

Picture it 1978 , hot June Friday night. , Oando Florida , just got paid at my summer job at Circus World !! Went to Jordan Marsh at Colonial Plaza and purchased some Calvin Klein Jeans at the outrageous price of 37.00 paired that with my white IZOID kinit shirt tight and sexy . Jumped in my red Oldsmobile Cutlass and headed up the SOBT to the Parliament House !!!! I just turned 19 and quite frankly was HAF in those days. Paid my 2 dollar cover and ordered a scotch and water because I saw some guy on TV order that at a bar. It was early , the disco opened up at 9 pm and my world changed forever.....

by Anonymousreply 65July 16, 2022 6:13 AM

R62 What did I just read?

by Anonymousreply 66July 16, 2022 6:14 AM

I think I cruised the hotel at Parliament House before I was old enough to drink. That was the thing, at 18 I could go to porno theaters and baths, but I had to be older to drink. First bar was Buddies in Boston.

by Anonymousreply 67July 16, 2022 6:16 AM

It was a place called Pearl Street Station in Eugene, Oregon while I was going to college at the University of Oregon. It was named that, because the building used to be the old railroad station. It was a nightclub with a bar and dance floor.with a DJ . .. One thing I remember is that because of the adjacent railroad, there were certain nights when a long freight train would come barreling down the tracks right outside the place. Usually around 1am. Because of the large windows within the old station, you could see the headlight of this train coming for more than a mile away. The DJ had special audio effects that he'd start playing with the music, and they'd also cut all the lights, because the light from the freight train would soon illuminate the entire place. It was kinda spooky, mainly because of the noise, but fun and romantic, as couples would start making out.

by Anonymousreply 68July 16, 2022 7:42 AM

Our first boy friend took us when we were 18.

The reactia of the patrons on that crowded Saturday night assured us that we were a star!

by Anonymousreply 69July 16, 2022 8:20 AM

In 1986, a few weeks after I turned 21, I went to "Icognito" in Pasadena, California. I was a bit nervous, as at the time I thought gay bars were either, drag or leather. I went in, it was a slow night , (mid-week), and toatlly, low-key. I had no nerves once I sat down and had a drink. To this day, I don't remember how I heard about the bar, but there I was. The building is still there however, a restaurant now sits on the site.

by Anonymousreply 70July 16, 2022 8:24 AM

Parliament House. On LSD. Talk about baptism by fire.

by Anonymousreply 71July 16, 2022 8:34 AM

r46, Well if there are any casting directors in here, My Uncle looked like Rip Taylor and Jimmy the Aids riddled twink looked like Doug Henning.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 72July 16, 2022 8:46 AM

The Silver Fox in Long Beach CA. It's still there. Then in high party mode the rotation was something like this (all Long Beach unless otherwise noted):

Sun: Club Ripples for Beer Bust and dancing Mon: day of rest Tues: $1 beer night at the Mine Shaft (it's still there!) or happy hour at Cha Cha Cha on Pine Ave (this was called "Cha night") Wed: karaoke night at Silver Fox Thurs: Newport Station in Costa Mesa or some place I can't remember the name of in WeHo (pitchers of margaritas were involved) Fri and Sat: many choices, including the Roosterfish (Venice Beach), anything in WeHo including Rage, Mickey's, Revolver, or the Boom Boom Room in Laguna Beach. Sometimes a rando place in Silverlake like this trashy bar called Cuffs. A few years later MJ's in Silverlake was popular.

There were a few others that I can't remember the names of.

Life was fun in the 90s.

by Anonymousreply 73July 16, 2022 9:09 AM

Fuck...I hate the formatting bullshit on DL. Let's try that again:

The Silver Fox in Long Beach CA. It's still there. Then in high party mode the rotation was something like this (all Long Beach unless otherwise noted):

Sun: Club Ripples for Beer Bust and dancing

Mon: day of rest

Tues: $1 beer night at the Mine Shaft (it's still there!) or happy hour at Cha Cha Cha on Pine Ave (this was called "Cha night")

Wed: karaoke night at Silver Fox

Thurs: Newport Station in Costa Mesa or some place I can't remember the name of in WeHo (pitchers of margaritas were involved)

Fri and Sat: many choices, including the Roosterfish (Venice Beach), anything in WeHo including Rage, Mickey's, Revolver, or the Boom Boom Room in Laguna Beach. Sometimes a rando place in Silverlake like this trashy bar called Cuffs. A few years later MJ's in Silverlake was popular.

There were a few others that I can't remember the names of.

Life was fun in the 90s.

by Anonymousreply 74July 16, 2022 9:11 AM

Oil Can Harry's in Palm Springs. It was so much fun. I danced all night!

by Anonymousreply 75July 16, 2022 9:13 AM

R17 maybe the Frat House in Garden Grove?

by Anonymousreply 76July 16, 2022 9:13 AM

The Dover Fox in Kansas City. It got me laid whenever I needed it. Young crowd, tiny dance floor. Mostly good times, a couple heartbreaks, and great music. Learned about life and have great memories.

by Anonymousreply 77July 16, 2022 9:17 AM

R74 here. To show how much life has changed, this is what I did tonight, a Friday night: went grocery shopping, then made a frozen pizza and drank wine, with the cat on my lap.

by Anonymousreply 78July 16, 2022 9:18 AM

----and he's a really cool cat but loves to sass me and throw shade so really it's not that different.

by Anonymousreply 79July 16, 2022 9:21 AM

it was a small town community bar that if you wanted to sit you had to bring your own folding chair or most of the youth that were let in, would instead go to the wall outside. The lack of chairs was just an odd city ordinance and this how they were able to represent as a social club or themed pub that served watered down alcohol.

It was a shabby hole in the wall but wasn't uptight as as the local g&l community center that fell prey to the city politics of class and generational divides. The twenty somethings instead would usually head to out to WeHo. So, it was more elders and babies. . . with a whole lotta cheese.

It was what was... available.

by Anonymousreply 80July 16, 2022 9:22 AM

Haven’t been to one yet

by Anonymousreply 81July 16, 2022 10:31 AM

First, Blake's in Atlanta.

Friendliest and least stressful, (forgot the name), downtown Little Rock, AR (yup, you read that right, folks).

by Anonymousreply 82July 16, 2022 11:41 AM

I went to Masque in Dayton, OH as a freshman in college

by Anonymousreply 83July 16, 2022 11:46 AM

Woody's in Philly's Gayborhood.

I found it overwhelming, iirc

by Anonymousreply 84July 16, 2022 11:49 AM

New Colony, Greenwich Avenue, I was 16. Everyone was friendly. Got free drinks.

by Anonymousreply 85July 16, 2022 11:49 AM

Club Firestone, Orlando, Florida. I passed through the front doors and I swear I had just entered heaven.

by Anonymousreply 86July 16, 2022 11:52 AM

R62 sweet memory thanks for sharing.

by Anonymousreply 87July 16, 2022 11:54 AM

Years later we were in the PInk Elephant in Santa Monica with an AA sister. She observed: "I've never seen so many unattractive people in one place before"

by Anonymousreply 88July 16, 2022 12:01 PM

r79, and you didn't have to drive all over SoCal for that perfectly fine evening! Am envious -- I miss my cats who grew ancient and are no longer with me. Am too old to deal with a cat box and the 3 flights of stairs to get to the trash can.

When I became single in my 50's, it had been 30 years since I went to gay bars. It was like starting over, with sort of the same anxiety and excitement. My cousin took me to the Lonestar, where I was fresh meat. It was a blast. Felt like I was with my Tribe again -- old, fat, heavy drinkers smoking weed, lol. But still can't handle drinking in public and end up waking up with whomever bought me my last drink -- usually another bottom like me, who ends up becoming another Facebook Gurlfriend.

Now at 61, I can't be bothered to even take a bus or Uber 20 blocks away to the Eldergay/Bear bars in The Castro, only to bump into bitter ex's of some sort or guys I met on apps or online and crushed on who just weren't into me.

A pizza, a bottle of wine, and a cat in my lap on a Friday night sounds like heaven. RuPaul is making millions off people like us and he deserves a Nobel Prize.

by Anonymousreply 89July 16, 2022 1:48 PM

R83, I was so sad when Masque shut down. Through the years, it was a lifeline for so many kids (and adults) stuck in the small towns in the surrounding areas.

by Anonymousreply 90July 16, 2022 2:59 PM

OP, Dock in Cincinnati for me too. I went with some college friends and borrowed my much older brother’s military ID to use to get in as I was 18. I remember my first night there, an old guy on a bar stool in the back area stopping me as I walked by to tell me I looked like a nice kid and to stay out of gay bars because they’d ‘ruin my life’. I didn’t heed his advice of course and met my now partner there at The Dock a year later in 1989 We started chatting about B-52’s when ‘Love Shack’ was playing…and it was gay love at first sight. Left Cincinnati shortly after that. I was sad to hear when The Dock was closed and torn down. I saw that Cincinnati lost the drag performer Sirocco last year as well. I remember blushing in mortification when she called me out in the crowd from stage for wearing a horizontal striped sweater and telling me I looked like a ‘fucking bumblebee’ then cackling. Time flies, and so many fond memories of my time as gayling.

by Anonymousreply 91July 16, 2022 3:35 PM

Comptons on Old Compton Street in London, 1992. I was 18 and petrified, so I tried to look cool by scowling and avoiding eye contact. I drank a coke and fled.

by Anonymousreply 92July 16, 2022 3:39 PM

^ Sweet.

by Anonymousreply 93July 16, 2022 3:40 PM

Alta Plaza in San Francisco

by Anonymousreply 94July 16, 2022 3:47 PM

Alta Plaza aka “The Glass Coffin” was your fist bar R94? How old were you?

by Anonymousreply 95July 16, 2022 3:51 PM

R95 26-ish. I was a late bloomer. It was tame. Wasn't ready for the Castro. Actually I think they called it ultra plastic

by Anonymousreply 96July 16, 2022 3:54 PM

The Rubaiyat in Ann Arbor MI.

by Anonymousreply 97July 16, 2022 3:54 PM

Neo’s (I think that was the name) in Fayetteville NC in the early 90’s.

by Anonymousreply 98July 16, 2022 3:54 PM

R64, we probably crossed paths then. I practically lived there in the mid-to-late-80s, and into the 90s.

- R30

by Anonymousreply 99July 16, 2022 3:58 PM

Paradise in Chicago

by Anonymousreply 100July 16, 2022 4:07 PM

My first bar was The Apartment in Denver. I was expecting a bunch of older queens dressed in pink and smoking through cigarette holders. I was happily surprised to see a bunch of 18-20 somethings that looked "normal" and even some jock types.

by Anonymousreply 101July 16, 2022 4:08 PM

Diamonz in Lawrence Ks.

by Anonymousreply 102July 16, 2022 4:10 PM

Early 70's as an underaged gayling into older guys, I discovered that if I stood outside the entrance to a certain bar on Clark Street in Chicago, someone would sneak me in past the guy carding customers at the front door. The bar, long since closed, was typical of the day - blacked out windows, no signage, smoke-filled, noisy and always crowded. I never had to approach the bar to order a drink - guys would buy them for me without asking. Fortunately I was never there when they got raided - which was a weekly occurrence for gay bars back then. (Raided = $$ shakedown by the cops.) Needless to say, I got laid often.

by Anonymousreply 103July 16, 2022 4:17 PM

The Hippo in Baltimore. I was 23 and just out to gay friends and they took me on a whirlwind tour of all the bars in DC that weekend.

by Anonymousreply 104July 16, 2022 4:18 PM

The Metro in Denver. From the front door you could either go to the dance floor on your left, or the bar on your right. They had 18 and over nights where only 21 and up could go in the bar room. Unless the drag queen at the door thought you were cute.

The drag queen thought I was cute. Got loaded and my friend, who was also cute, accidentally spilled his drink and may have set the bar on fire.

After that it was Tracks 2000 (most of my friends worked there for a while) and The Compound. Once I turned 21 I started going to whichever bar had the best drink specials that night.

I don't remember half of my 20s.

by Anonymousreply 105July 16, 2022 4:31 PM

[quote] “The Glass Coffin”

I thought Twin Peaks was called the Glass Coffin. I've never heard of Alta Plaza. Was that the gay bar in Pacific Heights?

by Anonymousreply 106July 16, 2022 7:33 PM

R103, What was the name of the bar? I remember a few on Clark in the early 80's. The New Flight and The Bus Stop

by Anonymousreply 107July 16, 2022 7:38 PM

Enlisted Club/Food Court, USAF base, Wiesbaden, Germany

by Anonymousreply 108July 16, 2022 7:42 PM

r94, r95 have it wrong. "The Glass Coffin" is the iconic Twin Peaks bar on Castro near Market. The Ultra Plastic is Alta Plaza on Upper Fillmore in Pacific Heights.

Twin Peaks is a low-key, friendly bar where Eldergays hang out. It was one of the first gay bars to have large windows facing the street.

The Alta Plaza was a "sweater bar" in the 1980's, populated by Macy's Queens who spent all their money on clothing, with a smattering of pretentious A-gays.

by Anonymousreply 109July 16, 2022 7:45 PM

Did anyone else grow up in a big city in an era (for me the 80s) when cool nightclubs were almost half-gay anyway? I went to plenty of trendy dance clubs in Dallas that were filled with a gay and gay friendly crowd, even met boyfriends had gay experiences, long before I set foot in an official “gay bar,” which honestly felt weird.

by Anonymousreply 110July 16, 2022 7:50 PM

R110 Studio 54 was a “gay club” in its heyday.

by Anonymousreply 111July 16, 2022 7:52 PM

R76, it was definitely not the Frat House. I think it might have been the Mug. I also used to go to The Happy Hour with my lesbian housemate. Her rather unkind nickname for that bar was "The Kennel."

The first "scary" gay bar I went to was Hole in the Wall in San Francisco. The first thing I noticed upon entering was a naked dwarf on a leash, smoking a cigar. That image is forever seared into my memory.

by Anonymousreply 112July 16, 2022 7:58 PM

Fran's in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The DJ was spinning Barba's "Woman in Love", while yelling to enjoy it because he would never play it again!

It was kind of a scary dive from what I recall.

by Anonymousreply 113July 16, 2022 8:05 PM

Xanthus in Baton Rouge, La. Just outside the gates of LSU. I’ll never forget that night, the excitement and fear, so much fear, walking down the highway and then going through a really dangerous neighborhood so that I wouldn’t be seen and could walk up alongside to the night club. It was a huge dance club and I remember a drag queen dressed like Cyndi Lauper, wearing a skirt made out of shredded strips of newspaper like in the True Colors video (I think). There’s a haze around the memory but it’s still so vivid to me. I was a child. All alone. Didn’t meet anyone that night. I was invisible to most there. But I’ll never forget it.

by Anonymousreply 114July 16, 2022 8:12 PM

Tys on Christopher St back in the late 70s, I got a drink and found a spot near the door so I could watch who came in. Everyone entering the bar always look fabulous but not so much once they were inside. I looked up and noticed there was a rose colored light above the entry which made you look great.

by Anonymousreply 115July 16, 2022 8:23 PM

Here’s an interesting article about gay bars in LA’s San Fernando Valley in days gone by. I came across it while searching for the name of a bar that I couldn’t recall (it was the Hayloft). The Hayloft used to show old movies almost non-stop. Not my kind of place for cruising, but it was a fun place to start the evening before going onto more serious matters.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 116July 16, 2022 9:09 PM

G.A.Y in London.

It was huge.

I couldn't believe all the hot gay men, dancing and getting drunk. I had a few drinks, walked around, made eye contact with hot guys and then snogged them and walked away.

What a little prick tease I was!

by Anonymousreply 117July 16, 2022 9:15 PM

It astonishes me how many of you have mentioned bars in different cities all over that I actually went to ! Especially in Denver and Orlando.Atlanta and San Francisco too. I was very much a gypsy in my youth,and my 1st husband was a perfect fit because his job took him all over the US. We'd spend 3 months here,six there and I loved every second. But 6 years in I decided I wanted more stability,and we landed in St. Pete Fl where we remained until he died. I was a bar queen from birth,so its not surprising now I reflect on it.

by Anonymousreply 118July 16, 2022 9:15 PM

The (Hunt) Chase (Kill) in Indianapolis. Anyone have any stories? Three story bar in the 70s and 80s. I have memories. 🎶

by Anonymousreply 119July 16, 2022 9:17 PM

R100, Paradise Chicago was the best!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 120July 17, 2022 3:18 AM

I've never been in a gay bar, but there was one in Evansville, IN called Someplace Else, it looked pretty sketchy from the outside, I don't think it exists anymore.

by Anonymousreply 121July 17, 2022 4:19 AM

?2 AKA QueEmTwo. Honolulu, Hawaii.

Total Dive. But my friend and I were 15. Free drinks and guys willing to suck us off.

When I was of age I ended up going to Dirty Mary's and Hulas.

Dirty Mary's was a little sleazy and had leather and denim nights.

Hulas was more clubby. Great drinks but snobby pretty boys (not as pretty as they thought) with attitude.

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by Anonymousreply 122July 17, 2022 4:27 AM

Oh wow, someone from Evansville. I remember seeing that Somewhere Else place and it did look sketchy and mysterious. We moved to Virginia when I was 16 so I never had a gay bar experience in that town.

by Anonymousreply 123July 17, 2022 1:44 PM

r118 I was quite the same. It wasn't my first but I fondly recall "The Church" in Denver/Boulder, it wasn't specifically a gay club yet gays and lesbians seemed to be the majority in the 90s but with the riseof Marilyn Manson racist and homophobic kiddiegoths invaded, the same had happened pretty much everywhere with vaguely goth clubs akin to how punk took a similar turn in the 80s. But I digress. I vaguely recall there was a gay western bar in the Denver/Boulder area, too. All I really remember of it they had an excess of sawdust on the floor that took forever to get out of my clothes. Birds of Paradise in Long Beach, CA - gay piano bar, it was way too small and always over capacity. The Tool Box in Toronto was the first legit bear bar I recall in that there were more bears than chasers and twinks looking for a sugardaddy.

by Anonymousreply 124July 17, 2022 3:32 PM

[quote] All I really remember of it they had an excess of sawdust on the floor that took forever to get out of my clothes.

Pro tip: take your clothes off before you roll on the floor

by Anonymousreply 125July 17, 2022 3:55 PM

Sawdust is butch glitter

by Anonymousreply 126July 17, 2022 3:56 PM

The Lone Star in SF

by Anonymousreply 127July 17, 2022 3:57 PM

Berlin, Chicago. I was underage, it was during AIDS, and I was both terrified and completely thrilled. I took the train in from Evanston by myself, and I still can't believe I had the nerve.

by Anonymousreply 128July 17, 2022 4:01 PM

The Mother Load in WeHo

I was slightly underage, but IDs were just typed out then, and I was born in July, so the “7” became a “2” with a little black pen, and I got 5 extra months of gay bars up front.

by Anonymousreply 129July 17, 2022 4:04 PM

The Kings and Queens in Woonsocket RI

by Anonymousreply 130July 17, 2022 5:42 PM

The New Bar, and raunchier Rod's in the basement, all in the Hotel Washington in Madison, WI, which sadly burned down in 1996. I was terrified, and ultimately my terror came true when I saw people from work there, a closeted gay guy and a woman who were "stopping in just for fun." It was awful, but it did finally set me on the road to coming out of the closet.

by Anonymousreply 131July 17, 2022 5:50 PM

JR’s in Dallas. Met an “out” friend there. He always wore a sleeveless jean jacket, so I of course bought one and wore it when we met up.

He was furious.

I had a great time.

by Anonymousreply 132July 17, 2022 6:05 PM

That's adorable, r132. He was upset you copied him, you Copy Catter! How old was he?

by Anonymousreply 133July 17, 2022 6:12 PM

Club Park Avenue in Tallahassee. It was in the old police station. I was 18, walked in and a billiard ball whizzed by my head. I turned to walk right out, but the bouncer/doorman talked me into staying.

by Anonymousreply 134July 17, 2022 6:32 PM

Wait, the gay bar was in an old police station. There is just something about that that seems funny and odd, and maybe a bit disturbing.

by Anonymousreply 135July 17, 2022 6:52 PM

R124 you might mean the Wrangler in Denver !

by Anonymousreply 136July 17, 2022 10:57 PM

R134 Did they retain the holding cells that most police stations have?

by Anonymousreply 137July 17, 2022 11:51 PM

The Green Gang ran a dirty little boîte at Quai de Kin Lee Yuen on the Whampoo in the French Concession. This angelic thug name Bao was indeed a treasure.

by Anonymousreply 138July 18, 2022 12:48 AM

My first proper gay outing to a proper gay bar was the 247 in Philadelphia in 1977 or 1978.

A small "leather & Levis bar" I loved it because I could meet one man, go fuck, return and repeat all night. The crowd were mostly more experienced and mostly older than me by a decade or more, late 20s,30s, 40s, a simple cruising bar where you would have a bit of a conversation and usually head off to fuck in quick order. There were handsome men, nothing too needy or aggressive, the bartenders looked after everyone, it had a nice neighborhood feel, including locals just stopping in for a drink, and a friendly, sexy tone. And there were always new faces and a steady turnover if the crowd. I went there about four years with some regularity and it influenced my taste in simple, no frills, no dance floor, no disco ball, jukebox and cheap beer and men who wanted sex. I never much liked slicker gay bars where the emphasis was on dressing up and dancing and travelling in little cliques and basically anything but fucking.

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by Anonymousreply 139July 18, 2022 2:32 AM

The Onyx Room, followed later that evening by the Red Bull.

St. Louis

by Anonymousreply 140July 18, 2022 2:49 AM

Did 247 become the 2-4 club in Philly, r139?

by Anonymousreply 141July 18, 2022 3:11 AM

Alan Gold’s, Chattanooga Tennessee

by Anonymousreply 142July 18, 2022 3:23 AM

“The Central” - 1974 - Smithtown Avenue, Bohemia Long Island, NY It was a low ranch house, located in a residential/ semi-commercial neighborhood.. Strange…

It was my 21st birthday. Heard about the place from a straight woman co-worker a few weeks prior.

Sitting in my car in parking lot. Nervous and excited as all hell. Drank a few of those airplane bottles of vodka, with some 7-UP. Saw some guys walking in…. Silk shirts, Jordache jeans. Heart pounding, I walked in. The DJ was playing Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”.

What a trip.

by Anonymousreply 143July 18, 2022 3:27 AM

R35, love your story…


by Anonymousreply 144July 18, 2022 3:37 AM

R141, not according to the sketch history I linked at R139

by Anonymousreply 145July 18, 2022 9:07 AM

I'm fascinated, R131. I grew up outside of Madison as a teen in the 90s, and I've never heard of the bars you've mentioned. Club 5 was the first gay bar I ever went to, and that was at the very end of the 90s, after I had already been away to college. We went up to the Shamrock a few times, but those were the only two gay places I knew of at that point. What was the history before then?

by Anonymousreply 146July 18, 2022 9:19 AM

R142 - I got drunk and vomited at Alan Gold's.

by Anonymousreply 147July 18, 2022 12:21 PM

I think it was Cheers in Miami circa 1985. Long gone, I imagine, but it was very sleek and modern for the time. Unlike it's dingy, dark cousin Uncle Charlie's [Miami].

The first gay bar I went to in NYC was in 1987, and it was the appropriately named The Monster on Christopher St. I remember being shocked by all the windows looking right onto street-level traffic. Never saw any of that in Miami back then.

by Anonymousreply 148July 18, 2022 12:49 PM


Thanks. You and I were the same age in those days on LI but I stayed closeted until I was 27. When I went to "Kiss" in Ronkonkoma I was still closeted (I was 27, not 28 as I typed) and went with a gay guy I worked with and said I was curious what a gay bar was like. Like others have said, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had never seen so many gay men before in my life.

That episode began my coming out process, and later that year with the same guy from work, I walked into 'Marie's Crisis' as a 'straight' man and walked out a gay man. I ended up meeting that night a guy I spent the next two years with. The first time I ever kissed a gay man was in the middle of Grove Street.

I can't remember what show tune was playing when I walked into 'Marie's Crisis.' But I'm sure it was a show tune.

And the gay friend I went with to both those bars? He really thought I was straight. And later told me that he had been in love with me the entire time we worked together thinking I was straight.

(Do you remember the name of the dance bar that was in the old Korvettes on Rte 110 in Huntington? That was a great bar.)

And do you Philadelphia guys remember 'Equus"? The bar is no longer there but that remains my favorite gay bar EVER. I wish I could find my 'Equus' tee shirt.

I should get a blog. I'm remembering all the meaningful and interesting details about all those years and the people and places I knew.

by Anonymousreply 149July 18, 2022 1:06 PM

Indianapolis in the early 90's. Walked into The Metro - and then later that night graduated to the Eagle where I met a guy....went home with him.....and fucked him.

by Anonymousreply 150July 18, 2022 3:58 PM

The After Dark, in Birmingham, AL., early 1980s. It was a dance/drag show bar; it took a few more weeks to work up courage to venture into Belle Watling's, which was more of a cruise bar.

by Anonymousreply 151July 18, 2022 4:23 PM

The Back Door in Madison WI, New Year’s Eve, 1973. Baptism by fire. But within a year I was the DJ.

by Anonymousreply 152July 18, 2022 4:42 PM

The Little Shrimp in Laguna Beach, where you could see Rudy de la Mor playing piano. Followed by the Boom Boom Room, and Main St- which is the only gay bar left. Weekends were great during the summer, hundreds of cute gay tourists.

by Anonymousreply 153July 18, 2022 5:16 PM

Was there a club named The Factory in Tampa in the late 90s? That was one of my first-ish clubs too. I remember walking in right when my roll kicked in. There were drag queens on giant swings (with lazer guns in holsters) and hot go-go boys dancing on platforms. It's funny how certain moments are seared in your memory.

by Anonymousreply 154July 18, 2022 5:33 PM

So did I R147

by Anonymousreply 155July 18, 2022 8:41 PM

The Generator in Chicago - though that was really more of a club, but it had a bar, so I'll go with that.

by Anonymousreply 156July 18, 2022 8:47 PM

The 1270 in Boston 1982. I had just graduated from college and moved to Boston. A few days after I got there, I answered an ad in the Boston Phoenix from a woman who said she was questioning whether she was bi or not.

Luckily, she was a good person who was also from the Midwest. She told me never to give out so much information about myself to strangers. We talked on the phone several times before she picked me up and showed me all the lesbian bars in Boston. Sadly, I lost touch with her after moving to the west coast. Wendy, if you are reading this, thank you and I hope you are doing well.

by Anonymousreply 157July 18, 2022 9:25 PM

R33 He was — gasp — 30!

by Anonymousreply 158July 19, 2022 1:19 AM

Studio One in LA. I fucked almost all the staff, and most of rhe customers.

Bonus, it had the Backlot where I saw Wayland and Madame, Phyllis Diller, Bernadette Peters, and so many others.

Interesting fact- the Backlot was originally going to be called Mama Cass' Tearoom.

by Anonymousreply 159July 20, 2022 5:15 AM

The Raven in Cliffside Park, N.J. Ruby Rims used to perform there. He once did "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini while wearing one.

I also got a really bad case of Herpes II in the men's room there. Took me weeks to recover. Couldn't swallow, couldn't eat. Nasty.

by Anonymousreply 160July 20, 2022 6:03 PM

R61 when was your first visit to Fritz? My BF then (husband now) and I were hardly the shy people, now were any of our friends who would usually be with us there. Man, Sunday brunches there were the go-to weekend activity and we’d be there for hours. I miss that place.

My first gay bar experience was in Phoenix, probably 1996 or ‘97. It was on 7th, can’t remember if it was 7th St. or Ave. neither can I remember the name, though I think it was Charlie’s? I was nervous as ever, attending with a guy I had met on IRC who became more of a mentor and friend than a hookup. He made sure I had a drink in hand immediately and was patient when it came to getting me on the dance floor. After my second drink “Crucified” started playing and I had to go dance then and there.

by Anonymousreply 161July 20, 2022 8:50 PM

1976, The Fidler, Lancaster, PA. I'll never forget the song they were playing when I walked in there for the first time. They also had a piano.

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by Anonymousreply 162July 21, 2022 9:03 PM

“The Bar” in Champaign, IL. I was a junior in college and had just had sex with a guy for the first time and went to this bar soon after. I took home a truck driver from Decatur who said “marry me” to me the next morning. I passed

by Anonymousreply 163July 21, 2022 9:17 PM

Bushes in Chicago in a neighborhood which became known as Boyztown. It was that yet. Still a pretty rough area

by Anonymousreply 164July 21, 2022 9:19 PM

The owner of Bushes in Chicago opened a Bushes in a strip mall in Ft. Lauderdale. People would get fucked up and sit at the bar naked. Fun place

by Anonymousreply 165July 22, 2022 11:13 PM

The Garage, 1986. I had agreed to meet a friend who was in town for business, but he had a dinner and asked me to meet up there. I was nervous as hell. There were no signs, so I didn’t even know if I was going into the right place. The guy at the door didn’t bother to check my ID (I was 21), and I was very confused upon entering. It was a small place with a dozen older guys sitting around drinking and smoking. My friend was nowhere to be seen, even though I was late arriving.

I kinda stood against the wall for a half hour until I noticed guys basically walking in the door, through the bar, then out the back. Aha! I followed and discovered the huge, loud, steamy warehouse out back — that was the Garage. The center of the space was the dance floor and guys basically made their way around it to size up the crowd. I found my friend in a back corner near the restrooms.

It was the height of AIDS and I wouldn’t drink anything but bottled beer. I would ever let the bartender open it for me. I got a buzz and had fun watching people. My friend found a hook up and told me he was leaving. I decided to stay and finish my beer, so I stood against the wall sipping my beer. A guy I had seen on campus and thought was cute had walked by a few times and our eyes met. He marched straight up to me, whispered something in me ear, and gave me a sloppy, open mouthed kiss. This freaked me out. AIDS!!! I hightailed it out of there and didn’t return for a very long time.

Yeah, I know… MARY!

by Anonymousreply 166July 23, 2022 12:01 AM

The Works and the back bathroom. Made lots of friends. Nathan Lane was always there, shitfaced, but I turned away every time he looked at me.Nobody ever let him in the back bathroom or the room in the basement.

by Anonymousreply 167July 23, 2022 1:31 AM

Had been to many gay bars between ages 18 and 21 in SF and San Jose, but had my first "legal drink" on my 21st birthday in 1983 at a swanky piano bar in Pacific Heights in San Francisco called The Pacific Exchange, mid-week, on a grim rainy Winter night, when "gay cancer" headlined the local gay press.

I showed off my driver's license to the bartender, who was unimpressed, but gave me a free drink (a Midori Sour). I was hoping to meet an impossibly handsome man in a suit and tie. Everyone was talking about moving elsewhere to escape this disease. It was profoundly depressing. I was a senior in college studying Biology and made the final decision to switch my focus to Immunology and Microbiology that week.

I'll be retiring soon, nearly 40 years later, with a man I met in 2019 who used to sing at the piano at The Pacific Exchange that year.

by Anonymousreply 168July 23, 2022 5:48 AM

I was still closeted, working at my first job after college, and not having any of my college “friends” I had been “experimenting” with, satisfying “curiosities” with around anymore, I developed needs.

I overheard a couple of random guys talking in I think an Au Bon Pan during lunch about this bar, in Queens - hot guys, fun times. I was silently willing them to say the name of the joint, they did, and that Friday night I found myself on the train to Queens to “The Magic Touch”. It was as I was to discover a Latin gay bar. Everyone was very friendly, bartenders shirtless in tiny shorts, go-go dancers in jocks and g-strings with full erections - and lots of hot Latinos interested in a hairy, still jocky fit white guy - I was in heaven lol

I hooked up with one of the go-go boys that night - American born Colombian guy - tall, muscled, smooth, and in possession of big brown pinga. I went back a few times, and hooked up a couple of more times. I picked up one of the free gay mags there one night, and discovered the world of gay bars in Manhattan, and the rest is, as they say, history.

by Anonymousreply 169July 23, 2022 8:28 AM


by Anonymousreply 170July 23, 2022 8:46 AM

I can't remember the name of it, but it was a gay bar in Sydney right in the Sydney CBD area. I was 19. Overall I liked it and had a good experience. I did get pissed off with seeing women in there because I was expecting it to be all men. My boyfriend at the time didn't like that I was enjoying myself dancing and just talking to guys, because it was really safe and exciting being surrounded with men like me, so I was trying to absorb everything as much as possible. I was so tired though and kept falling asleep on the couches. Guys were telling my boyfriend that if I kept falling asleep they would kick me out.

by Anonymousreply 171July 23, 2022 8:48 AM

[quote] I was still closeted, working at my first job after college, and not having any of my college “friends” I had been “experimenting” with, satisfying “curiosities” with around anymore, I developed needs.

All I can say is, you went to college?!?!?!

by Anonymousreply 172July 23, 2022 9:25 AM

No R172, he went to “college.”

by Anonymousreply 173July 24, 2022 2:10 AM

The first gay bar I went to was when I was in college. I mentally prepared for weeks before I got the nerve to go in. Finally, I drove downtown, parked my car a few blocks away, and walked to the bar. I took a deep breath and then stepped through the door.


...but there was no one there, not even a bartender. I stood there for a minute, and then an older man came up from the basement carrying a case a beer. He took a look at me and said "We're not open yet, come back tonight." Why I thought a gay bar in a small city would be hopping at 2PM on a weekday is something that I'll never understand.

by Anonymousreply 174July 24, 2022 3:28 AM

Neighbors in Seattle, circa 82-83. The first guy I met was twirling in a hoop skirt and offered me poppers.

by Anonymousreply 175July 24, 2022 3:33 AM

Columbus, Ohio in the mid ‘80s — The Kismet, The Garage, and Imagination. So much fun.

by Anonymousreply 176July 24, 2022 4:56 AM

Rendezvous, near the corner of Sutter and Mason in San Francisco. 1963

by Anonymousreply 177July 24, 2022 5:37 AM

Hulas Bar & Lei Stand, 1985ish, under that FABULOUS banyan tree! I loved being with others like me when I was just a young gayling.....

by Anonymousreply 178July 24, 2022 6:15 AM

^^ I probably missed you by the year

by Anonymousreply 179July 26, 2022 1:06 AM

R178, Hulas wasn’t my first, but not far from it. Yeah, that place was great. I remember walking in for the first time and Bananarama’s “Venus” was on the TV above the bar, the music blasting loudly. What fun times. 1986, I think.

by Anonymousreply 180November 20, 2022 7:50 AM

The Cove, an old house bar out in the woods in the far outskirts of Pittsburgh. A group of us went from a state college about 45 minutes away. The only thing I was nervous about was getting in, I was 19, but looked 16, although we were told they never carded. I was the one who drove, so at least I knew if I wasn’t getting in, we were all turning around and going home. But we had no problem, nor did we ever in the many years we went there. They loved us young college kids, I think the next age bump up from us was guys in their 30s. Youth is definitely wasted on the young.

by Anonymousreply 181November 20, 2022 9:06 AM

I think it was Julius' in the West Village.

by Anonymousreply 182November 20, 2022 9:07 AM

[quote]The After Dark, in Birmingham, AL., early 1980s. It was a dance/drag show bar; it took a few more weeks to work up courage to venture into Belle Watling's, which was more of a cruise bar.

After Dark and Belle's were before my time, but I went all through college when AD was the Casbah and then Club 21. During my peak clubbing days we'd hit Club 21, The Quest, Mabel's (and its sister bar, Eunice's), and The Gizmo.

by Anonymousreply 183November 20, 2022 9:39 AM

Trends/The Garage in Columbus Ohio.

I was so upset when it changed to a straight bar in the 2000s. No idea what it's like now.

by Anonymousreply 184November 20, 2022 2:37 PM

Club Q in Colorado Springs last night.

I hope that sort of thing isn't considered normal. Otherwise I think I'll stick to entertaining at home.

by Anonymousreply 185November 20, 2022 2:42 PM

My first bar was The Turf Club in Rochester, NY. bacj in 74. Don't remember much other than there was a large pool of water on the floor and a guy asked if I swam in it and I told him I skinny dipped. He told me to do it again. I finally had that feeling of being accepted.

by Anonymousreply 186November 20, 2022 3:19 PM

Kit Kat in Chicago in the mid 00s. I loved it. I don't like drag but those drag performers were all very good . It had a really chill lounge vibe (not sure about now, I havent been in years). It was (is?) owned by a Malaysian dude which I found interesting.

by Anonymousreply 187November 20, 2022 3:52 PM

r29 When did you go to Kiss...was it the original or when they had the Ratsckeller around the lake?

I was there in 1979 and The Mark V around the corner. The Mark was great until the two new owners ran it to the ground. The midget guy Ro thought he was running the next Studio 54 and started banning old regulars from the place..so they all went over to the old Kiss...too bad as the two Laurie’s who worked the door and the coat room were adorable

by Anonymousreply 188November 20, 2022 4:04 PM

r149 Was it Millennium?

That became the “hottest” Gay club in Suffolk County at that time. Vinnie, former owner of the Mark V opened “The Octagon” around that time, too...

Ahhh, the music was so good back then, too

by Anonymousreply 189November 20, 2022 4:12 PM

Blazing Saddles then The Garden, same night 2003 Des Moines. Meh. It was more fun just being in a bar underage. I got better action in person in my small hometown.

Went to Boston for school a year later and had a few gay friends. We went to bars occasionally, forgot the names, Club Cafe and Ramrod, others…they were a little more than meh, but got more action on campus in person.

Been in NYC since and my gay friends don’t go to gay bars. It’s either swank gay house parties or “straight” bars.

by Anonymousreply 190November 20, 2022 4:56 PM


"Millennium" doesn't sound familiar but I'm older with a bad memory. I just remember going there to dance every weekend and having great times. I had recently moved to Queens by that time but people I associated with then all lived on Long Island so I drove out. I was used to the commute because I worked across the street from the bar (Korvettes) in the basement of one of the stores in the strip mall. Still can't believe how I drank all night and then drove 30 miles home to Queens on Northern State. (Parkway on LI in NY. North/upper part of the Island. South/lower part of the Island had Southern State (Parkway). Locations provided for people for which NY is not the center of the universe.

Then I started going out in Queens and Manhattan. Queens was 'Breadstix' in Forest Hills, and 'Flavors' the dance bar in Kew Gardens.

Manhattan was generally 'Ty's' or 'Uncle Charlie's' or 'Bogarts'.

Miss those days. Now that I think about it, maybe it WAS 'Millennium.' There weren't all that many gay bars on LI in those days (late 70s/early 80s.)

by Anonymousreply 191November 20, 2022 5:20 PM

^^^ R149

by Anonymousreply 192November 20, 2022 5:22 PM

Sort of a first bar for me was called The Sage Brush in Fort Collins, Colorado. Loved having a beer and watching Steve Carrington on Dynasty there. Lots of guys droolig ovr the second Steven. The first guy that played him never did much for me.

by Anonymousreply 193November 20, 2022 5:41 PM

1470 West in Kettering, OH back in the 80s. Second was the Dock in Cincy.

by Anonymousreply 194November 20, 2022 5:44 PM

R149 & R191 - R143 here….

Yes, that bar in the EJ Korvette’s parking lot was named “Millennium”. I used to perform at the Broadhollow Theater just down the road, and after performances we would hit “Millennium”, then go up to Jericho Turnpike and hit “Thunders”.

Then of course they’re were the good times driving to the city with a bunch of friends and hitting, Marie’s, 88 Keys, Rawhide, Julius, Stonewall, and the wild, sex-fest after-hour clubs.

by Anonymousreply 195November 20, 2022 5:48 PM

The Pink Elephant. Cocoa Beach. Knew I was home.

by Anonymousreply 196November 20, 2022 5:51 PM

Peacock Alley in San Diego in the early 80's. I was sooo nervous. It was early on a weekend and it took me an hour sitting in my car, working up the courage to go in. I brought in a Reader to "pretend-reading" at the bar. I pretended to read that paper for hours!! I didn't look that out of place early as the place was empty, but as the night wore on, the place got packed! I looked ridiculous reading a paper with the dim bar lights as the crowds swirled around me. Finally, a bartender ( who I'm sure was laughing at me) took pity on me. He grabbed the paper out of my hands, spun me around on the barstool and said "behold the crowds!" It took me a few more years to work up the courage to go back.

by Anonymousreply 197November 20, 2022 6:04 PM

Power Company in Winston-Salem. Summer of ‘84.

by Anonymousreply 198November 20, 2022 6:04 PM

[quote]Kit Kat in Chicago in the mid 00s. I loved it. I don't like drag but those drag performers were all very good . It had a really chill lounge vibe (not sure about now, I havent been in years). It was (is?) owned by a Malaysian dude which I found interesting.

what did you find interesting about it?

by Anonymousreply 199November 20, 2022 6:12 PM

The Sweet Gum Head in Atlanta. They had the most amazing drag shows every night. It rarely failed to amaze who you'd see there. Years after my first visit in 1974 I was in Paris and a French guy in a bar there asked me where I was from. When I said "Atlanta', he almost screamed "Ah I love the Sweet Gum head". When I told him it had closed he was crestfallen.

by Anonymousreply 200November 20, 2022 6:20 PM

R146 I posted about my first time at the Back Door @152. The Back Door was opened by Rodney Scheel and Jack Faust around 1970. Rodney went on to purchase the Hotel Washington, opening Rod’s and the New Bar. As noted the Hotel Washington burned in 1996. Prior to the Back Door in Madison was the Pirate Ship (PS), and Club 602. Yes I am old!!!!

by Anonymousreply 201November 20, 2022 6:21 PM

Not sure which was first: 1977

The Townhouse, St Paul Minnesota. 75% lesbian and set amidst car dealerships and strip malls. Males were semi-welcomed as long as you didn't get to wild on the dance floor. I recall there would usually be a large black woman in aviator shades on the edge of the dance floor. Whoop it up, jazz hands, Saturday night fever imitators and she would just walk up to you and stare through the shades. Any antics would stop immediately.

The Gay 90's, downtown Minneapolis. Four stories of red velvet chaos, drag shows, dinner, dancing, supposedly mafia run. As it was well known as a gay bar it was the focus of bashers so at bar close you needed to be very aware of your surroundings. Maybe typical of that era as well: you could cruise cruise cruise but hooking up always seemed to happen when everyone was milling around after bar close. "I've spent my time and $$ and god damn it, I'm getting laid" just grab and go.

by Anonymousreply 202November 20, 2022 6:59 PM

I was 17 and ended up at The Cock. You guys can imagine what happened to me.

by Anonymousreply 203November 20, 2022 7:04 PM


The Cock on 2nd Ave in NYC? Been there. It’s an eye-opener, as they all were back then. I’m from the Ramrod, Mineshaft, Anvil, original Eagle, days. Stopped going just in time before the horrors began.

by Anonymousreply 204November 20, 2022 7:57 PM

R199, it was my first gay bar so that's pretty much it lol. Also, the loungey vibe was really nice. You could just go there and relax. It didn't seem like people really hit on people much there but I may have just been oblivious. It mainly seemed like a place to chill with your friends.

by Anonymousreply 205November 20, 2022 8:03 PM

I'm delighted not to be the only person so far to say "The Bar" in Lexington, KY. It was after-hours for me, too. I was 18 and a freshman at UK. I was also deeply, deeply buried in the closet. But I had an amazing time with a very "edgy" crowd. Fog machines were on full blast, strobe lights distorted my vision, and "Tainted Love" was on the sound system. It was 1987.

by Anonymousreply 206November 20, 2022 9:15 PM

[quote]The Cock on 2nd Ave in NYC?


by Anonymousreply 207November 20, 2022 10:29 PM

R191 r195 so, we all probably knew the same people…How about Starz in Dear Park?. The Mark V fired DJ Laural and brought in Vinnie Magic …dubbed Vinnie Tragic for the crappy music he played and his comtempt for the people who went there.

The was right before NY adopted a DWI law ..it was amazing how we weren’t killed on the Long Island roads. driving drunk and high on coke…the drug of choice back in the late 1970s….I took am a yr older than god….

by Anonymousreply 208November 20, 2022 11:43 PM

I've never been in a gay bar, there aren't any around here.

by Anonymousreply 209November 20, 2022 11:48 PM

The Circle, Ocean Park, Santa Monica/Venice. I was an absolutely failure at gay bars - 70s, 80s.

R209 I understand in Colorado Springs there's......

by Anonymousreply 210November 20, 2022 11:53 PM

I live near the border between KY/IN and the only gay bar I ever knew of is gone now, I think, it was called "Someplace Else".

by Anonymousreply 211November 21, 2022 12:16 AM

R209 - “I've never been in a gay bar, there aren't any around here.”

Oh honey, you need to move. I mean like, now! On second thought, maybe not. Most are overrated.

by Anonymousreply 212November 21, 2022 12:19 AM

You're two years older than me, r206, but we may have been at The Bar at the same time.

by Anonymousreply 213November 21, 2022 5:06 AM

The XXX age was lower than the drinking age, so m y first gay places were porn theater: The Bijou in Chicago, the Tremont Arts Theater and South Station Cinema in Boston. First bar: Buddies in Boston when it was on Boylston St.

by Anonymousreply 214November 21, 2022 5:47 AM

Loved it. Just loved dancing. The porn theaters with their dungeony back rooms were a bit more scary.

by Anonymousreply 215November 21, 2022 5:47 AM

The Hunt & The Chase - Indianapolis.

by Anonymousreply 216November 21, 2022 5:55 AM

Tally-Ho, Lancaster PA. Open for 54 years, closed in 2020.

by Anonymousreply 217November 21, 2022 6:00 AM

R217 I’m completely shocked at some of the places that had gay bars, in this thread. I knew it wasn’t exclusively major cities, but Lancaster, ffs? It must’ve been all the queens from the Dutch Apple after a show. I don’t vibe with the regional theater set, but thirsty man in a desert I guess…

Did you at least get the boys on rumshpringa?

by Anonymousreply 218November 21, 2022 1:33 PM

Spiral in Lansing, MI.

I thought it was so cool.

Then when I went back after a decade it seemed so provincial.

by Anonymousreply 219November 21, 2022 1:34 PM

The Midnight Shift, Sydney Australia.

by Anonymousreply 220November 21, 2022 1:47 PM

[quote]The El Goya. Ybor City Tampa Fl.

Thank you! I was trying to remember the name of that bar. That was my first intentional visit to a gay bar. I walked into one when I was in college without realizing it was a gay bar and quickly left.

I only went to El Goya because I was working in Tampa for the summer as a summer clerk at a law firm. I figured I wouldn't run into anyone I knew. I was very scared to go in and sat in the parking lot for a long time trying to get up the courage. A drag queen was working the door and made some lascivious remark about my appearance, which made me very uncomfortable. I didn't know what to expect, but within minutes a very cute guy had bought me a beer. There was no turning back.

by Anonymousreply 221November 21, 2022 1:56 PM

Havana in Amsterdam way back in the day

by Anonymousreply 222November 21, 2022 2:22 PM

I love the names of these bars.

by Anonymousreply 223November 21, 2022 2:40 PM

God I loved Havana - and that place with the rotating bar on Reguliersdwarstraat. So much fun in the 90s. Now it’s all straight people and drag bars.

by Anonymousreply 224November 21, 2022 3:51 PM

R217 - I think I know you.

by Anonymousreply 225November 22, 2022 4:01 AM

R218 Lancaster is actually part of the Harrisburg/Hershey/Reading metro area and the overall area is far from all Amish. That said I live in PA and have always wanted to hookup with an Amish guy.

by Anonymousreply 226November 24, 2022 12:39 AM

Paradise in Chicago. They were playing “Into the Groove” and I still associate that song with being 21 and being in my first gay bar surrounded by more young, gay guys than I ever thought existed.

by Anonymousreply 227November 24, 2022 12:50 AM

Gangway, San Francisco. Loved it and immediately felt at home. I truly mourn the loss of it, and the countless other gay bars like it, that have faded or been forced out of existence by apps that isolate us and by the TQ+ cult that has trojan-horse'd and destroyed the gay community.

by Anonymousreply 228November 24, 2022 12:55 AM

Thanks for clarifying R226. I shared your interest in hooking up with an Amish guy, at least once. I was raised in the middle of Amish country in Iowa.

Just never fathomed there was a gay bar in Lancaster. Too bad it closed.

by Anonymousreply 229November 24, 2022 1:58 AM

Tha Apache in the Valley.

by Anonymousreply 230November 24, 2022 2:00 AM

Smack dab in the middle of Lancaster is the Charles Demuth Museum, who was one of the earliest and most explicit Gay American Modernist painters. Pennsylvania doesn’t have just The Warhol Museum dedicated to a Gay artist.

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by Anonymousreply 231November 24, 2022 2:06 AM

Norma Jean’s in a little farm town called, Castroville. I was quite young and it was a bit lackluster and quiet.

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by Anonymousreply 232November 24, 2022 2:08 AM

It was called The Sun, and it was Salt Lake City's oldest gay bar. I was barely 21, and everyone else I saw in there was middle-aged and looked rather used up and desperate. I changed my mind and left within five minutes so as not to have to talk to any of them.

That bar was leveled by a freak tornado that hit SLC back in 1999, the one and only tornado that has ever occurred there during my lifetime. But I was long gone by then, having already moved to the other side of the world at 23. Utah sucked, and I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

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by Anonymousreply 233November 24, 2022 2:10 AM

How many of us wish our first Gay bar experience was like Cal and Derek’s in Euphoria? This hit extra hard as the music was era appropriate for me and the setting was very much like the aforementioned Cove bar I spoke of above.

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by Anonymousreply 234November 24, 2022 2:20 AM

R17, holy shit. Newport Station!! I totally forgot about that place until I read your post!

IIRC, it was in a weird industrial center, right? My first bday was a fireman and he'd sneak me in there when I was underage. All that guy had to do was flash his badge and every door opened. Haha.

We spent many a night there, though the Boom Boom Room in Laguna was really more our hangout. This would have been 96-99 or so.

by Anonymousreply 235November 24, 2022 2:53 AM

[quote]How many of us wish our first Gay bar experience was like Cal and Derek’s in Euphoria?

As long as neither of us got that fateful phone call the next morning.

by Anonymousreply 236November 24, 2022 3:14 AM

I went to the big dance club in Nashville TN (sorry, I forgot the name). On Saturday, I went at 10:00 pm thinking the joint would be jumping. I was the only one there. I didn't realize that on Saturday night, gay men didn't start going out until midnight! When I went home that night, my ears were ringing because the music was so loud and my clothes smelled of smoke. I've been to several gay clubs around the world just to see what they are like, but I realized on that very first night that I am not the gay bar type.

by Anonymousreply 237November 24, 2022 3:16 AM

Backstreet Atlanta was an awe-inspiring bar to walk into.

It seemed pretty small when you first went in, with a traditionally sized bar. But when you walked beyond that a two-story dancefloor was revealed with hundreds of men dancing and drinking.

And then on the third floor, there was yet another bar, with a drag show and outdoor patio.

by Anonymousreply 238November 24, 2022 3:21 AM

There were a few in Indianapolis and I can't remember the first one I went to.....although it wasn't the one the poster mentioned above.

This was more of a leather/bear bar with a pool table.

Of course there was/is also Metro and couple of other dance bars that were interesting.

by Anonymousreply 239November 24, 2022 3:27 AM

Charlie Brown's Cabaret at Backstreet was great. Charlie (and Lily White, RIP) knew how to zero in on the straight girls and make them squirm.

by Anonymousreply 240November 24, 2022 3:29 AM

H.A.L.O (Homophile Association of London Ontario). A social/advocacy group that ran a bar/disco on Saturday nights. You had to be a member or sign in as a guest and pay $2. I sat outside for 45 mins working up the guts to go in. Never turned back haha! Sadly, it’s long gone, like many of the men and women there.

by Anonymousreply 241November 24, 2022 3:39 AM

R240 I will never forget going to Charlie Brown's cabaret. I can't remember the name of the queen who was performing, but she got a drunk straight guy in the audience with his coworkers to come on stage. She got him to strip down to his boxers.

His phone started ringing. And the drag queen picked it up and answered.

"Bon Soir! Who are you? Oh, it's your wife! Yeah, he's at a gay club. I'm a drag queen and I got him to strip down to his boxers. Oh, you don't? Well, they are purple with red hearts. See?"

by Anonymousreply 242November 24, 2022 2:38 PM

The Raven in Cliffside Park, N.J. where Ruby Rims got her start as a drag entertainer. Who can ever forget her lip-synched rendition of "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" she performed while wearing one?

by Anonymousreply 243November 25, 2022 5:36 PM

I thought Ballet West was a gay bar.

by Anonymousreply 244November 26, 2022 6:16 PM

When I first moved To New York City I thought the signs for the Workbench were for chain of Gay bars and The Works was an adjunct.

by Anonymousreply 245November 26, 2022 6:21 PM

The Open Closet - Toledo Ohio. It was in a shopping center next to an adult bookstore and a Farmer Jack's grocery store.

by Anonymousreply 246November 27, 2022 2:28 AM
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