Gay bars initially served as the centre of the gay community and were one of the few places the LGBTQI+ community could openly socialise and be themselves. Thankfully times have changed and the world is more accepting than it once was. However, gay bars are still a vital component of the gay community today and are robust with gay culture.
Is there still a need for gay bars?
Often times people say there isn't a need for gay bars anymore as everyone is more accepting nowadays. People might indeed be more accepting, but I believe there is still a need for gay bars. They can be the life and soul of the gay community and honestly for me they are just so much fun. Personally I only ever hope to see more and more.
For myself I have found that there is just a different vibe in a gay bar than a straight bar. Now don't get me wrong I do love both and it is often the company you're with that plays a big part in having an enjoyable night. You may even wonder what is so different. Well putting a brief thought on it when comparing the two. You can have your regular gay bar with a mixed crowd. I guess you could say similar to that of a straight bar except the obvious where most people are gay.
There can be so many different types of gay bars especially in the bigger cities. You have the tame intimate bars to the most wild gay bars you can imagine. In the more wild bars, one minute you can be surrounded by a group of twinks. while the next minute you might find yourself immersed in a group of daddies all pulling at you, For me before I was married, a surprise I quite liked. Basically you never know what you might find. The list is endless!
One of the main reasons I love gay bars as I stated above is they are just so different. By being different they have more of an identity. It's important to remember for the LGBTQI+ community that there’s a distinction between being accepted by the mainstream and blending into the mainstream. The goal is to have a strong sense of identity that is universally respected and accepted, not to blend into the mainstream necessarily. Having dedicated gay spaces is fundamental to sustaining our unique identity.
Over the last numbers of years gay bars started to see a decline in customers with the continuous rise of gay hookup apps. More guys are inclined to meet each other through the apps if they are looking for sex rather than fun or conversation. On top of that Covid didn't help the bars either. But it does look like that is changing and we are again seeing gay bars making a come back. I hope!
First time in a gay bar
It's funny I recall the first time I went to a gay bar and my heart was racing thinking someone would see me. Again this was before I was out. I was a paranoid mess. It didn't help that I had no idea what to expect. The guy who I was going with said "It's fine there will only be a few people there". In my head I was like okay I can do this. It will probably be 15 people at most. Well fuck me! It was absolutely jam packed. I ran straight to the bar and got a drink just to calm my nerves. At first glance it was a crowded bar with good atmosphere and good music, but it felt so different than all the other bars I had been to. There was no fighting and drama similar to what I was used to and everyone looked like they were having a good time. It's hard to describe but I felt like everyone was free to be themselves.
Until now I was an absolute closet case, always looking over my shoulder waiting for someone to go "Is that you Aaron? Fuck I didn't know you were a big queer haha," or something like that. Honestly it's so strange to think that you could feel that way. Almost like you were going to be caught doing something illegal.
To think about it I guess I really should be grateful for how far we have come in the world as once upon a time being gay was illegal. Honestly, I can't fathom how being yourself and comfortable in your own skin and being able to love who you really love was once illegal and still is in some parts of the world today. Now back to the story.
I was most often seen as being a relatively butch "straight acting" lad (whatever you want to call it) but one time as the night proceeded and the drinks were flowing well all of a sudden a side of me came out that I didn't know I had. I heard Cece Peniston - "Finally" for the first time and I just couldn't help but fall in love with that moment of feeling free and being able to be myself. It was one of those moments where a song just played at the perfect moment and it felt like a euphoric high.From belting out songs at the top of my lungs to being sweaty on the dance floor surrounded by men it was a night I won't forget.
Gay Bars in Dublin
I must commend the gay bar scene in Dublin. I have travelled all over the world and still find it one of the best. Yes, people can always complain that there is not enough of this or that when comparing it to larger cities but in my honest opinion it always offers a fun and welcoming night out.
The bars in Dublin helped me find myself and allowed me a freedom of expression that I didn't know existed. There are some great bars in Dublin and if you get the chance you really should check them out. Here are a few of my favourites below.
My favourite has to be Pantibar which is the bar that has brought me so many great memories including my first time in a gay bar. It always allows for the utmost comfort and has been a regular meeting point for so many of my friends and I.
What are your opinions on gay bars? Let us know by messaging in the forum below