Neon lights and dark rooms; pumping house and drag queens on counters; first kisses, last orders; the gay bar has long been a place of joy, solidarity and sexual expression, whatever your scene, whatever you’re seeking. But in urban centres around the world, they are closing. With this cultural demolition, we must remember to ask: Who were the patrons? What did the bars mean to them? And where can we go now?
Gay Bar is a sparkling, richly individual history of the gay bars of London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, focusing on the post-AIDs crisis years of the 1990s to the present day. It is also the story of Jeremy Atherton Lin’s own experiences as a gay man, and the lifelong romance that began one restless night in Soho. In prose both playful and challenging, he immerses his reader in the unique experience of a life lived in and out of these spaces.
From leather parties in the Castro to the Black Cat riots of Los Angeles, from glory holes and Crisco-slicked dungeons to Gay Liberation Front touch-ins, from disco at Studio One to Britpop at Popstarz, from irony to abandon, from hedonism to love, Gay Bar is an intimate, stylish and necessary celebration of the institution of the gay bar.