Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do you remember the first GAY BAR you ever went to?

Were you nervous?  What was the name of the bar?  How old were you?

WGB:  I will get us started.  I took a bus from my hometown of Taunton Massachusetts to Boston and at age 17 snuck into a gay bar in the combat zone called the Haymarket. It was a total dive for sure and within minutes someone offered to buy me a drink. I said yes, and asked for a coca cola.

I believe the year was 1988.

35 comments:

Jim TO said...

Yes, the Quest in Toronto. A little nervous, but not too much. I was 16 at the time (but had a mustache so looked older I thought).

Anonymous said...

I was 21, The Bar was called The Masquerade and I was very nervous! Haha

Ronald S. Batson said...

"Pharr Library" in Atlanta. I didn't go in to drink. I went in to see if it was for real! It was refreshing and electrifying (in a good way). I ordered a "New York Seltzer," and simply enjoyed the atmosphere. That was in the late 80's.

Anonymous said...

Club 477 in Hyannis ma

JMiddleton said...

Yes, because it was it only last year. A bunch of straight co-workers couldn't believe I was gay and 28 and had never been to a gay bar. We went out to three gay bars that all happened to be next door to each other: Pegasus, Sparky's Pub, and Heat.

Anonymous said...

The Melody Club, Gainesville, Florida while at the Univ of Florida in 1971. Great shows, great college dudes, great times...

Anonymous said...

My first time was studying abroad in Buenos Aires...The bars/clubs have never been the same :(

AtticCrazy said...

I was terrified to go to a gay bar. I didn't know there was such a thing as "gays". I grew up in Wyoming and all I ever heard about was "queers", which, from what I had gathered were basically dirty old pedophiles driving around in panel vans looking for young boys to snatch.

I knew I was different from an early age, but I could never reconcile what I felt with those "queers".

When I was 19, a bunch of straight friends (three couples) had started going to Corpus Christi (my family moved to Texas when I was 15) to watch drag shows at a gay bar called Lafitte's. They wanted me to go, but I refused for a long time.

They finally talked me and a single female friend into going; she was as terrified as I was. I'll never forget walking across the parking lot, holding her hand, both of us demanding that we stick by each other's side the whole night.

Within thirty minutes of being in the bar, I realized everything I had known was wrong, and I realized that night that I was gay. That club was like every straight bar I had been to (well, except for the drag show) and the normalcy of it was one of the biggest epiphanies of my life.

I started coming out to people in my life the very next day.

It was just a tiny hole-in-the-wall place, but Lafitte's changed my life. I still remember it vividly (I'm 47 now) and I remain thankful to those friends who took me there, because, of course, they knew I was gay before I realized it and wanted to help me.

SZL said...

A total Dive in our Hometown. Bobby's Place, Taunton MA. Haha! I want to say 3 years ago, maybe..

Chris Faulkner said...

It was Diva's in Northamton, MA. I believe I was under 21 (they allow people under 21), maybe 2007 or 2008. I went with a bunch of friends, one of which refused to go in and hung out in the parking lot all night. I wasn't out at that point, I didn't even identify as gay yet. I had a good time and I wasn't really nervous. I was just dancing with my friends all night and I don't think anyone else talked to me.

Mark A. P. said...

Syracuse, NY, October 1988. Mr. T's. I was 21 and as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs....

Anonymous said...

I live in Paris. It was very difficult for me to enter the first gay bar in the Marais (the Paris gay village). I had doubts for a month.

One night, I decided to enter the bar L'acces'soir now called ZeBar (genuine, the most straight orientated gay bar I know in Paris). I had to tour those bars all a month long before succeeding to enter one (lol).

A guy offered me a drink and finally, he brought me in some kind of partner-swapping bar on the other side of the street with guys in leathers, backrooms, etc. He stayed at my side all the time and led the whole intimate moment together.

Joseph van Veen said...

I had just come out of seeing a production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" and had crossed the street and was headed t other train station to catch the intercity GO Train home to the suburbs. A guy run across the street and invites me to join him and his friend for a drink at Club 101 ... I say "Club 101, what's that?" A little nervous and a little excited I and agree to go with the caveat "I guess I could come for one drink. The last train is at 12:45 a.m." Instead of taking the train home that night ... I came out. I went to a gay bar and I and sex with another man and I finally accepted myself as a gay man and let go of the guilt and denial.

Anonymous said...

First: Buddies on Boylston Street in Boston.

It was sometime in the 80s.

Will said...

I guess I was 21 or 22 and, honestly, more than just curious. I went with friends to an afternoon pool party at The Marlin in Ft. Lauderdale. I was nervous and kept downing drinks (unusual for me) with them. The music was great, the men were hot and after a while we danced, then danced shirtless, then danced shirtless with roving hands. I had a constant hard-on and the time of my life.

Bing said...

241 in Worcester Ma.

Russ said...

June of '78...I was 18 and very nervous. I had heard of "The State Bar" in my home town (Flint, MI), but was always too scared to go there. I had a car that every once in a while did not want to start so I parked across the street at Denny's restaurant (thought that would be easier to explain to Dad if he had to come get me!). The place was (and still is) a dive, but I had the time of my life! After getting that 1st cocktail in me, I relaxed and just enjoyed!

joe c said...

Ty's in Greenwich Village, Labor Day weekend, when I was 21. And for years I was too terrified to even WALK on Christopher Street.

Christian H said...

Well, to be honest I actually haven't been to one just yet. I'm going to be 20 in just about a month, and the thought has been crossing my mind for at least a year or two, but my nerves have always shot it down. My friends would probably be cool with coming with me, they've offered to come see the parade in Manhattan with me too (other reasons stopped that one) though I'd probably end up ordering a coke myself :p Though reading through everyone else's stories about their first times, it helps to know most everyone felt just as nervous as I do. I think I'll give it a shot after my birthday or on it.

Mike in Asheville said...

The Whitehorse, the first gay bar in America (or so they claimed) in Berkeley. FIrst time in as an 18 y/o freshman at Cal -- though I had been to the Steamworks, the first bathhouse in the US, several times before one of my hook-ups took me to the Whitehorse.

Anonymous said...

Chez Est, I think it was called, in Hartford CT. I drove from NJ and was supposed to pick up a college friend near downtown Hartford for a drive up to VT to go skiing. I got hopelessly lost and saw a small group of people go into what looked like a bar. I immediately pulled over and ran in to ask directions. I had no idea what den of iniquity I had just walked into. The bouncer was quite solicitous (what can I say, I was a pretty cute 22 year old). The images haunted me for years. My first real gay bar experience was 11 years later, out of my (straight) marriage, and my best friend took me to Club Cafe in Boston. I was so anxious, I was a sweaty mess. The first person I saw was one of my ex-wife's best friends from law school. Whoops!

Bear By The Bay said...

Old Plantation in Dallas, 1977. I was 18 years old, which was the drinking age back then.

That was the only gay bar I had heard of. It was fairly well known because a lot of straight people went there, mainly because of the disco music, which was trendy at the time.

Once inside I picked up a copy of TWIT (This Week In Texas). It listed all the bars, baths, etc in town. Once I had that I never looked back.

Anonymous said...

the gatsby cherry hill nj i was 18...

kevin c said...

Yes, I remember. Brothers in Jacksonville. I went in at 18 trying to be all cool. Acting like I thought it was a straight bar, I even asked a girl to dance.

kevin c said...

The bar that scared me the most was going to my first leather bar. Well, we called it a leather bar here but wouldn't have passed the test in a larger city. I was the preppy type and thought I'd get thrown out. I finally got up the nerve to go one night and I actually enjoyed. I found I was a little more masculine then most of the people in there wearing leather.

Anonymous said...

I was 22 was called The Brooke in Stamford Ct. Yes I went in with the thought the place would be a cross off the bars in "Cruising" and "The Blue Oyster Bar" so my first look was at bar tenders to see if they had chaps on. They didn't and it was not all I had feared. Boy I do kiss the first months of being fresh meat.

Anonymous said...

I was 24, new to Dallas and went to JR's. I was afraid I would see someone else from my office, but then after thinking for a sec, if they saw me there, they were there as well.

Anonymous said...

It was fall of 1989 and I was 28 years old, living in Portland, Maine and in the midst of coming out. I was going to a gay men's coming out support group at the time, and one of the other guys in the group (who I'm still friends with after all these years) and I nervously went into the Underground Bar there in Portland. We had a pretty good time and felt good about overcoming our fears of going there.

Anonymous said...

In 1990, I was a 24-year-old bisexual and went with a friend to a (now-closed) bar in central Pennsylvania. A dreadful place with a crowd to match. For the next 8 years, I dated only women - until I tried visiting a different bar, where I met a man who would become my partner. He later cheated on me and emptied my bank account. So, I'm staying the hell out of bars -- they're just not for me!

Anonymous said...

Last Year. Gym Bar in NYC with my older gay brother. I was 24 and still in the closet. He brought me there to meet a bunch of his friends. It seemed like a regular bar with a bunch of dudes. Nothing particularly exciting since I've been exposed to gay culture for a while.

Anonymous said...

Club PAN in Copenhagen. I was 21 and soooo nervous. 10 minutes I after I walked in a gorgeous guy walked to me and offered me a drink.... I said "NO" and ran out. Damn, I am still regreting it!!!

keith said...

i was 18.it was a bar called "the back door" in kingston,ont. it was on the 2nd floor of a seedy hotel and i actually think it was an unused hotel room,it was tiny! xx

Anonymous said...

A Boston bar called, believe it or not, "The Cowardly Lion." It was on Boylston Place near the Colonial theatre. The room was papered with gold flocked wallpaper with scenes from The Wizard of Oz on it. They served a drink with green Crème de Menthe and vodka called an emerald city. They also served the Scarecrow, and the Ruby Slipper. Had a juke box and a dance floor the size of a postage stamp.

Christian Brugmans said...

I went to a bar called The Werx in Hamilton, ON (no longer exists) I was 17 at the time and they were hosting a all ages event.

Anonymous said...

Feathers in North Hackensack NJ ROFL 1979, and boy were my knees knocking (but not for long LOL!)