A gay bar is a drinking establishment which caters primarily to a gay or lesbian clientele. It may often be called a gay club or pub, and occasionally queer bar, lesbian bar, dyke bar, or boy bar. They include gay nightclubs, entertainment venues which usually do their primary business after dark. Gay bars range in size from the tiny, five-seat bars of Tokyo to large, multi-story "super clubs" with several distinct areas and often more than one dance floor. A large venue may be referred to as a nightclub, club, or bar, while smaller venues are typically called bars and sometimes pubs.

One of the oldest gay bars was the White Swan, on Vere Street, in London, which in 1810 was raided (called the Vere Street Coterie), leading to two executions for the then crime of sodomy, and which was frequently the scene of gay marriages carried out by the Reverend John Church [1].

Gay bars and nightclubs are often segregated by sex, though this is more common in some places than others, and people of the "wrong" sex may be unwelcome or even barred from entry. On the whole lesbian-only bars are comparatively uncommon. Gay bars may also attempt to restrict entry only to gays or lesbians, but in practice this is both difficult to enforce and generally undesirable. This may be more common in specialty bars, such as gay male leather fetish or BDSM bars, or clubs that have back rooms (see below), for example. Some unsegregated gay bars have occasional or regular "women only" nights. Gay bars are often welcoming of transgender people, and drag shows are a common feature in many gay bars.

Music, either live or, more commonly, mixed by a DJ or DJs, is almost always a prominent feature of gay bars, as is the serving of alcohol. Music in gay bars, as in other bars, ranges in style from jazz and blues to disco, drum and bass, punk, house, trance, and techno.

Depending on the size of the club and its image, music and clientele, common features of gay bars are light effects, including colourful moving and flashing lights, disco balls, etc, as well as fog-machines, screens showing special effects or videos, raised platforms or stages for dancing on and for special performances, and decorative cages or podiums for hired dancers (often called go-go boys or go-go girls). Some gay clubs also have "backrooms," dimly lit or darkened rooms where men can have sex.

Like other clubs, gay clubs are oftened advertised by handing out eye-catching flyers on the street, in gay or gay-friendly shops and venues, and at other clubs and events. These flyers frequently feature provocative images.

"Gay Bar" is also the name of a 2003 single released by Electric Six.

Notable gay nightclubsEdit

Notable gay DJsEdit

See alsoEdit

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