A gay nightclub, also known as a gay club or gay bar (and occasionally queer bar, Lesbian bar, dyke bar, boy bar) is, like other nightclubs, an entertainment venue that usually does its primary business after dark. Gay clubs range in size from the tiny, five-seat bars of Tokyo to large, multi-storey "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.
Gay nightclubs and bars 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 and/or lesbians, but in practice this is both difficult to enforce and generally undesirable. This may be more common in speciality 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 generally welcoming of transvestites and transsexuals, and drag shows are a common feature in many gay bars.
Music, either live or, more commonly, mixed by a Disc jockey, 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 rock, house, trance and techno.
Depending on the size of the club and its image, music and clientÃ¨le, 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 often 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.
- South Beach Magazine Article with photos of the notorious Warsaw Ballroom Nightclub in Miami Beach.
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