Gay / Straight bars

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Anonymous User
Tuesday 29 August 2006 2.24pm
There is a thread in Socials (gay socialising...) which reminds me of a conversation I had with a gay friend the other night.

Why is it important to drink in a gay bar? I don't mean for when you are on the pull, but just for those occasions when you are meeting a mate for a drink?

She said to me that we always meet in straight bars - my response was that we meet at one of the bars between our offices, sexuality having no nearing on the choice.

So, what is it? Are 'straight' bars unfriendly on the whole? Do they feel threatening? We aren't talking about a rough local boozer here - we both work in Soho so would be hard pushed to find a homophobic bar!
Tuesday 29 August 2006 2.40pm
Birdie wrote:
Why is it important to drink in a gay bar? I don't mean for when you are on the pull, but just for those occasions when you are meeting a mate for a drink?

Because sometimes it's nice to be in the majority rather than the minority?
Tuesday 29 August 2006 2.44pm
I'm glad you've asked the question Birdie. I don't really understand it either. It also raises the question as to whether there are straight and gay versions of other places where people might spend their time.

Are there straight and gay libraries, for instance? Theatres? Coffee shops? Cinemas? Supermarkets?

I'd be happy if a pub had good quality drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.

...if you press it, they will come.
Anonymous User
Tuesday 29 August 2006 2.53pm
I don't buy it...

A bar full of people is a bar full of people. Why is their sexuality important?

I can understand that there are some areas of the country where people may be frowned upon (or worse) for their sexuality thus making for uncomfortableness (is that a word?) but this isn't the case in the area I am talking about.
Anonymous User
Tuesday 29 August 2006 2.53pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
I'd be happy if a pub had good quality drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.


Exactly!
Tuesday 29 August 2006 3.20pm
The Lady Miss Jo Jo wrote:

Because sometimes it's nice to be in the majority rather than the minority?

I would think that's right. For example, there is a pub in Clerkenwell where loads of cyclists go - and I like to go there sometimes. Or, being originally from Belfast, on occasion I like to go to an Irish bar*. Considering that in the UK your sexuality is likely more central to your identity than being a cyclist or a bogtrotter** then I can see why popping along to a gay bar would be nice every now and again.

Plus presumably it is much easier to score :o)





* no, not O'Neills

** begorrah!


Would you like to go with me?
Where?
Wherever I'm going
Are you *really* asking?
Is that your *real* answer?
Anonymous User
Tuesday 29 August 2006 3.26pm
Funnily enough - the friend I mentioned is also from Belfast - she's never expressed a desire to visit an Irish pub.
Tuesday 29 August 2006 3.44pm
What was your friend's answer to your question?

I personally wouldn't care whether the bar I met a friend for a drink in was gay or straight (if anything I think I'd rather not meet straight friends in gay bars) but I can still see many reasons for demand for gay bars in general.

Obviously, as you say, there's a degree to which "pulling" is involved. There are probably a fair few gay people who feel safer / more comfortable being themselves in a gay bar (even if an alternative "straight" bar is in no way threatening / homophobic). Gay bars will set out to market themselves to gay people by holding events / evenings that they think will be attractive to them.

But in general I think that many gay bars exist for the same reasons that, say, many Irish bars exist (after all you could submit the word Irish for gay in the opening post and it would be equally as valid). That is they serve a (non-geographic) community who have shared interests and who want to socialise together.
Anonymous User
Tuesday 29 August 2006 4.28pm
My friends answer was that we always meet in a straight bar.

As I said - I thought we met in a bar - I don't give two monkies what the ascribed sexuality of a bar is so long as it is welcoming and has a decent supply of rum.

This is the point I'm trying to make.

A bar is a bar and people are people.
Tuesday 29 August 2006 5.44pm
Birdie wrote:
My friends answer was that we always meet in a straight bar.

Sorry - I meant what was your friend's answer to the question of why it was important to her to sometimes meet up for a drink in a gay bar.

Birdie wrote:
A bar is a bar and people are people.

If you never had reason to patronise a bar which caters for a specific group then I can see why you might think this. But try telling that to me and my Irish mates when we're desperate to see a gaelic football match on the telly. Or to me and my gay mates when we want to go out dancing to crap 80s pop with each other without worrying whether anyone else is offended by / uncomfortable with men dancing with each other (whether to crap 80s pop or not).

Obviously most of the time people go to a pub for just a drink and a chat and it shouldnt really matter whether its an Irish pub or a gay pub or any other kind of pub (and indeed most gay people I know mostly drink in non-gay pubs most of the time). But if you go there at others times for events that do cater for you then you're more likely to become a regular and enjoy going there (and if you dont go they might just close down - the closest Irish bar to me is now a Chinese take-away and I have to travel a little further to catch those gaelic football matches!).

I dont know why your friend would raise it as an issue for your drinks after work though - which is why I was wondering what answer she gave.
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