It’s Friday/Thursday/Saturday/Tuesday/whatever night the cool kids are partying these days, and you’ve been invited to the local gay bar. Maybe you’re girlfriend is asking you to tag along with her and her gay friend, or your favorite gay bro is inviting you into a part of his world for the night. Either way, go.
Because gay bars and clubs can be a blast, especially if you’re a straight guy. By and large, gay bars completely flip every dynamic that straight bros are used to when they go out drinking, so the experience is a welcome, if not temporary, relief from the typical hustle of your local frat lounge.
Here’s what you need to know as a straight guy as far as what to expect and how to handle certain situations that might arise. As always, the best advice is just to go in with no expectations and have fun. But this should guide you along the way.
Like most bars it’ll still be mostly dudes
While there should be a fair amount of ladies in attendance looking for other ladies to lady around with, expect the majority of people there to be gay guys (especially if it’s a club, not a bar) and a decent amount of straight women. Be warned, though: straight girls aren’t there looking for a straight guy, so you definitely have an uphill battle if that’s the route you’re going to go down. It shouldn’t be, though, because you came with your gay friend and it’s time for you to play wingman, right? Right.
If you get hit on and it makes you uncomfortable, take it in stride
My best friend once said to me, only a few minutes after being in a gay bar for the first time, “Wow, I finally know what it’s like to be a good-looking girl in a bar full of horny guys.” It goes without saying that if the idea of being hit on by another dude makes you cringe, a gay bar probably isn’t where you should be in the first place. But if it does happen, understand that this is a gay bar, and if you were at a straight bar you would be doing the same thing to a poor girl just trying to make it in this lonely world. My straight friends who’ve experienced this were total pros right from the start. They were nice back, mentioned that they were straight but still engaged the guy in conversation because it’s the polite thing to do. Remember getting shot down all those times at the straight bar? You’re going to have to do the same thing, and now you’ll know how it feels to be on the receiving end (pun intended for the nature of this article).
Guys are dressed as ladies
Drag queens are the most popular subculture in the gay community, and most gay bars have drag shows at least once a week. It takes a lot of self-confidence for a man to dress as a woman, even in the gay world, so the ladies (when they’re in drag, you refer to the person as a woman) can more than handle your stares. In fact, they thrive off of it. Some of them pull off the look better than others, but keep in mind that you are in a place that welcomes everyone. Even you, straighty, so play nice and tip them well even if they can’t lip-synch Taylor Swift worth a damn.
The men’s restroom is not Lord of the Flies
I get where the nervousness comes from, and a few of my straight friends were definitely more than apprehensive about going to the restroom in a crowded gay bar. But rest assured that your fears amount to nothing. Like any men’s room, the Golden Rule is eyes forward. It might be more chatty in there than a typical restroom, but that’s about it.
Stricter rules than most bars or clubs
Because of the stereotype of gay people as morally deprived heathens and the gay club as a proverbial den if sin, most gay bars take it upon themselves to be very strict with IDs. It’s not uncommon to get wristbands and x’s on your hands if you’re not 21, so don’t be taken aback if your ID is scrutinized a bit more closely. I’ve never seen underage people kicked out when caught drinking faster than at gay bars. In fact, gay bars are about the only places where I’ve seen the staff actually care about maintaining standards. This is actually a good thing if you’re tired of going to college bars where the average age of the patrons is about 18.5.
Like any bar or club, it’ll be hit or miss
You never know what a place is going to be like until you go, and that’s true of any bar or club. The key to having fun is being there with people you like and knowing why you went out in the first place. If you want to dance, there’s a gay club for that (and gay clubs have the best music, sorry every straight club ever invented by anyone). If you want to sit down and relax, there’s a gay club for that too.