How To Survive Your First Visit To a Gay Bar


Going to a gay or lesbian bar or club for the first time can be intimidating. This step-by-step guide will show you the ropes.

written in 2002

Here’s How:

  1. Choose a place. Consult your local LGBT newspaper or an online guide to find bars in your area.
  2. Choose a day. Note that some bars are LGBT only on certain days of the week. Others have theme nights like ‘latex night’ or ‘hoe-down night.’ Dress appropriately.
  3. Go to the bar, but not too early. Most places don’t get going until 10 or 11 p.m. or even later.
  4. Unless you go to a neighborhood-type bar, expect to pay a cover charge.
  5. Once inside, take a deep breath and look around. Not as scary as you expected, right?
  6. Buy a drink. Be nice to the bartender — they can be your ally.
  7. Choose your spot. Stand in a place where you can see and be seen.
  8. Be approachable. Smile. Make eye contact with others. Try not to look like a wallflower, but try not to look desperate either.
  9. Move around. Mingle.
  10. If someone seems interested, approach them and make small talk.
  11. If they seem interested in you, ask for their phone number. If not, there are other fish in the sea.
  12. Know when to leave. When the troll you saw on your way in starts to look good to you, it’s time to go home.
  13. Remember, you’re there to have fun, not necessarily to meet Mx. Right (or even Mx. Right Now).

Tips:

  1. If you can, go with friends. There’s safety in numbers.
  2. Don’t drink too much — it will impair your judgment. If you feel the need to keep your hands busy, try a club soda or tonic water instead.
  3. The bartender has pen and paper if you need to write someone’s number down.  

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