They're more interested in finding fun. L'INSOLITE Like a French speakeasy, this hush-hush place requires skill to find, but is worth it once you get there, if only because the crowd is so decidedly unanything not queeny, beefy, or hipsterexcept hot. The last thing closeted gay men and lesbians wanted was for co-workers, family members, or potential blackmailers to wander into their sanctuary—nor did they want to be seen coming and going from such establishments. They want to be innocuous. I'm incredibly proud to be a member of the gay community, and I know that gay bars were pivotal in our history, but that's not for me.
Now they're almost all gone.
The 50 Greatest Gay Bars in the World
Patrons compete in spelling bees, play bingo, or have video game tournaments, but the biggest events take place on Re-Bar's stage, ranging from comedy to Shakespeare to drag shows to a cappella performances'it's like being in college on speed. The Canuck male stripper overload almost makes us forgive Canada for unleashing C'line Dion. There are plenty of places to soak in some herstory, belt out showtunes alongside a handsome pianist or add a few new stains to an already questionable couch. Amidst all those glorious, sweaty entwinings, there was always the risk of being hurt by someone or something. Though they've taken different approaches, enterprising owners like Stoner and Nestor have found ways to make money running bars. Busy enough during the week, Joiners is packed on weekends.
Don't let the setting sun distract you from finding visiting corporate executives flashing black Amex cards and suggestive smiles. Before Stonewalla mixed crowd could provide cover—if the police raided the place, men and women could start to dance together, and a friend from the bar could act as a "beard" at family or work events. When I visited Pony on a Friday night, there was a go-go boy stripped down to his skivvies dancing on the bar. And her show's free before midnight. A word of caution: Tourists, expats, and locals all converge on DJ Station.