Gay bars are a place to let your hair down, dance the night away, and, in some cases, find love. But what exactly happens at gay bars, and what sets them apart from regular bars? A lot, actually.
A lot of people have a mental image of gay bars as sex clubs, but the truth is that they’re not that much different from any other bar. It’s just that the clientele is a little more diverse than your average karaoke joint.
That said, it’s important to do some research before you go to a gay bar. They are often tailored around different types of people and tastes, with some leaning toward particular demographics. There are dance bars, lounges, tame bars where you can sip vodka soda like it’s the eternal youth elixir, and clubs that cater to a variety of kinks.
Many of the bars also have specific attractions or events. You can watch drag performers, compete in the Mr. Eagle competition, or take part in a jockstrap party, among other things. Keeping up with what’s happening is half the fun of going to a gay bar.
With hookup apps on the rise, some younger gays have opted out of the traditional bar scene entirely, choosing to connect on a screen rather than a barstool. But, while they might not be the main draw anymore, the old-school gay bars are still a vital part of our community. It’s up to us as straight people to learn what to expect, avoid the pitfalls and use discretion when inviting or recommending straight friends to gay bars.