Gay Bar

This Moving Bathhouse Party Has New York City Bars Raving

Its cold up in the North East of America with temperatures reaching as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit just in the New York and Philadelphia area.

But while its getting colder outside, its getting warmer inside at gay bars in New York City.

Multiple clubs in New York City are hosting “Bette, Bathhouse and Beyond” events in order to both revisit the good old days of the gay bathhouse scene as well as to celebrate singer Bette Midler who was a frequent visitor of such haunts.

Party organizer Daniel Nardicio has teamed up with singer Amber Martin to create a night to remember. Guests are told that the dress code is towel only while Martin performs one of Midler’s routines to mimic bathhouse excursions of the past.

And if you’re thinking, “Why celebrate Midler at a bathhouse?” That’s because Midler was known for her bathhouse performances.

In their glory days, bathhouses weren’t just places for sex but social hubs for gay men, and performers often showed up to sing a song or two. Milder was so known for it that she gained the nickname Bathhouse Betty.

When actor Alan Cumming announced that he would be creating a club with multiple events to celebrate gay culture, he added that a bathhouse theme was in the works. The videos above and below show the fruition of those original ideas.

Now, the party is on the move again as it was held last night at another club in New York called Bedlam Bar.

Keep a look out for “Bette, Bathhouse and Beyond” because it looks like its an event that everyone’s loving.

h/t: NewNowNext

Traveling In Gay Europe - Final Destination: Cologne

Our European travel series for gay men concludes. First we showed you Vienna, Austria. Then we took you to Munich, Germany. Now Instinct is pleased to present you with a tour of culturally rich and historical Cologne.

The fourth-largest city in Germany and former Roman colony has the famous Rhine snaking through it and a robust gay culture. Cologne’s annual Pride festivities draw about one million people from all over Europe.

Bars are located in two areas just about two metro stops apart. Old Town, closer to the river, caters to men 50+ as well as leather and fetish. More popular, attracting a younger crowd, is Bermuda Triangle, near Rudolfplatz. The intersection of Schaafenstrasse and Mauritiuswall is where one finds lively watering holes of many types. ExCorner has a casual beer-loving vibe and I saw birthday parties and Oktoberfest celebrated in equal measure. One thirtysomething had multiple glasses of beer lined up on a window sill. At only two Euros per glass, I suppose he could afford it.

IRON is more sophisticated featuring an all-black interior accented with purple neon lighting. Here I spoke with an American (who didn’t want to give me his name for this article) living with his husband in Germany. When I commented on how mixed the crowd was, he told me it is normal for gay men and women to hang out together in Cologne. His identity preserved, we both smiled at the handsome Iranian (and straight) bartender who felt embarrassed his German wasn’t “good enough.” Who was I to judge? I ordered my second drink in English.

Saunas are popular in Cologne too. Badehaus Babylon, a gorgeous Italianate villa made of red brick, offers three floors of fun including an outdoor pool (allowing office workers to be voyeurs from their skyscrapers surrounding the facility). Drawing a diverse clientele, there were men of all ages and types, from thin, pimply teenagers (the age of consent is 14) to white-haired older men. In contrast to years ago when I first visited, this time I noticed many Middle Eastern men (Cologne has a sizeable and growing Muslim population). One reason they stood out was the swimming trunks they wore. Most men wrap a towel around their hips, or wear nothing at all. And in comparison to the US, condoms are a big deal in Germany. PrEP is not yet widely available in Europe like it is in the States, so one finds condoms everywhere, as well as posters stressing safer sex.

Lastly, there are two absolute cultural musts in Cologne. Museum Ludwig, with its permanent and visiting modern art exhibits, features Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns. Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction began in 1248 and wasn’t completed until 1880. Both are located on the Domplatte, not far from the main train station.

If You Go – Cologne

GETTING THERE

Cologne Bonn Airport is a regional one so it is difficult to fly direct to or from the USA. Connections via Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin should be expected. Cologne is served by high-speed rail if you travel in and away by train. Deutsche Bahn offers Sparpreis saver fares for booking in advance online and one-way tickets can cost as little as 19 euros.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel NH Collection Köln Mediapark, Im Media Park 8b; +1 212 219 7607

WHERE TO EAT

Bei Oma Kleinmann, fantastic traditional German food popular with locals – get the schnitzel with a pint of Kölsch, the signature local brew; Zuelpicher Str. 9; +49 221232346

Bastian’s, charming bakery café serving jaw droppingly-good rolls and pastries; Auf dem Berlich 3-5; +49 221 25083412

WHAT TO DO

Badehaus Babylon Cologne, one of the most beautiful and popular saunas in Europe; Friesenstraße 23-25; +49 221 4207 4577

ExCorner, Schaafenstraße 57-59; +49 221 233 6060

IRON, Schaafenstraße 45; +49 221 2764 9614

Museum Ludwig, Heinrich-Böll-Platz; +49 221 22126165

Cologne Cathedral, Domkloster 4

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On The Prowl In Gay Europe – First Stop: Vienna

Welcome to Instinct’s three-part travel series giving you a peek into modern gay culture in Vienna, Munich and Cologne – three of Europe’s most amazing cities. Tomorrow and Friday we’ll delve into two of Germany’s hottest destinations for gay male travelers – but today it’s all about Austria’s capital, Vienna.

Along the banks of the Danube, The City of Music feels like a European Washington, DC, with wide avenues, city parks and “wedding cake” architecture to match. Chock full of diplomats, NGOs and English-speaking professionals from all over the world, a distinct Gay Village lies ensconced between the Mariahilf and Wieden neighborhoods, not far from the center of this gorgeous and sophisticated metropolis.

Using TravelGayEurope.com and the tourism office’s Gay & Lesbian Guide (on paper and as an app), I unsurprisingly had a host of bars, clubs, restaurants, and saunas to choose from. I visited the Eagle first. Featuring a retail counter selling t-shirts, poppers, and leather/BDSM accouterments (like cockrings), it’s marketed as a cruise bar. Men can drink and flirt before having sex in a dimly lit back room. Nowhere close to sanitary, it provides an effective taboo vibe patrons aged mid-20s to 60-plus clearly enjoy.

For a no less social, but definitely less sexual vibe, Village Bar is a great choice. Cozy, modern and welcoming, with little red glass lanterns hanging from the ceiling, I heard several Americans talking about their careers in the States. Handsome and friendly bartender Andrew (“That’s my artist name.”) speaks perfect English and will recommend you imbibe the local Viennese beer, Gösser, vom fass (on tap). Nearly every region in Austria and Germany has brewed its own signature beer for hundreds of years. When I travel I sample as many as I can – they are like cultural fingerprints.

One evening a fake Grindr profile lured me to Ken Club, a monthly LGBTQ dance party playing deep house. Perhaps best left for the young (I am 51), I found a dark, crowded, smoky bar with deafening music and a lot of rude, inebriated twenty-somethings stumbling down stairs leading to a packed dance floor. Not a lost cause, however. I found respite near the main bar when I kissed a cute Brazilian diplomat working on nuclear policy for the United Nations. Unable to walk since a young age, he confessed, “You wouldn’t believe how many guys buy me drinks just because they see this wheelchair.” Actually, I could; I had become one of them.

Finally, there are four saunas in Vienna, with the crown jewel being Kaiserbründl. Unlike the dank, unclean sex clubs found in American cities, saunas in Germany and Austria are highly social places where friends arrive in groups, particularly on Sunday afternoon, share a beer, coffee or cigarette before and after finding distraction. At Kaiserbründl you may choose a Jacuzzi surrounded by North African-themed arches decorated with mosaic tile, basic sauna or steam room, or a dramatic solarium dominated by a crystal chandelier hovering above you. They also have a large restaurant on the street level. Penne all’Arrabbiata was the special the day I was there.

Tomorrow’s destination: Munich (via train from Vienna: 4 hours)

If You Go – Vienna

GETTING THERE

I flew from LAX nonstop on Lufthansa. VIE, the city’s international airport is served by all major airlines.

WHERE TO STAY

Rent a great apartment for $100 per night or less; airbnb.com

WHERE TO EAT

Lugeck, a delicious modern twist on traditional Viennese cuisine; Lugeck 4; +43 1 512 50 60; lugeck.com/en/

WHAT TO DO

Eagle Vienna, Blümelgasse 1; +43 1 587 2661; eagle-vienna.com/index.php/en/

Village Bar, Stiegengasse 8; +43 676 358 4842; why-not.at/index.php?id=58&L=1

Kaiserbründl, Weihburggasse 18-20; +43 (0) 1 513 32 93; kaiserbruendl.at/eng/index.htm

 

 

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Palm Springs: Longtime Gay Video Bar Changes Name to QuadZ

Even in small California desert towns famous for “a dry heat,” a longtime Hollywood legacy and global gay tourism, change happens. Gents: the Palm Springs gay video bar formerly known as Spurline is now…QuadZ.

What’s the name mean?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Eric Stahl, 47, one of the managers of the bar said via phone.

Owners Michael McCartney and Jim Osterberger, who opened Spurline more than ten years ago also own the original QuadZ in Las Vegas, a bar with a website homepage stating that they have “some of the best and strongest drinks at some of the lowest prices Gay Vegas has to offer.”

Why did they revamp and rename? “It’s part of the transformation of Arenas Road,” Stahl said.

Indeed, competition for customers is intense. Tourism has grown by leaps and bounds as the region has recovered from the Great Recession, and today’s (often younger) patrons from markets such as LA, San Diego and San Francisco demand ever more upscale environments. 

In the past couple of years new arrivals to Palm Springs’ gayest avenue include Chill Bar, right next door to QuadZ, and Blackbook, half a block away. Across the road, Hunters invested in an extensive renovation about a year or so ago, installing a new DJ booth and world class sound system. 

QuadZ’s arrival can be seen as a continuation of the gay desert revival that began about five years ago, when Ron deHarte took the helm at Palm Springs Pride. It was deHarte who lobbied city hall to close off Arenas Road between Indian Canyon and Calle Encillia for all-day outdoor entertainment during Pride weekend, annually held on the first weekend in November.

For Instinct readers who travel to Palm Springs, you may remember how Spurline was famous for its beloved show tunes and musical theatre nights on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Patrons would sing along to videos of musical numbers from classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to newer films like Chicago and many numbers recorded from the annually broadcast TONY awards.

 

“We haven’t changed those,” Stahl said. And Sundays will continue to have karaoke, hosted by “none other than Jeff Bosco,” a longtime Spurline employee.

Will anything new be happening? “We’re looking to liven up a couple of the other nights,” is all Stahl would say regarding programming on the remaining nights of the week.

Now that the bar has a fresh look inside, “We will be looking to reach out to the gay community more,” Stahl added. He means event and group business. LGBTQ enthusiast and athletic organizations like the International Gay Rodeo Association that come to Palm Springs, or that may have local chapters, are prime business targets.

What has the customer response been? Stahl said both regulars and newbies to QuadZ have given him positive reviews. And if you check out their Facebook page, you can read supportive comments from local fans.

QuadZ opened in early October, prior to Halloween and the annual Leather Pride and Palm Springs Pride weekends. High season in the Coachella Valley, where Palm Springs is, officially started November 1 and, depending upon whom you ask, generally goes until March/April. That’s when that world-renowned “dry heat” descends and QuadZ will be serving the locals. Happy hour pricing, anyone?

Below: an example of the kind of video patrons will see on QuadZ's popular show tune evenings.

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A Man Was Shot Outside An Atlanta Gay Bar

This past Monday, witnesses say they saw a man standing around the Bulldogs bar, a black gay bar in Atlanta, Georgia.

A group of friends eventually interacted with this man, later identified as 47-year-old Elijah Payton, as he started to yell at them.

An anonymous witness spoke to WSB-TV Atlanta about the situation, “He started yelling obscenities, such as ‘Hey, which one is with who? I wanna have sex with one of you guys,” the witness told them, “He then screamed that he was homeless and that he wanted to know if one of us could give him some money.”

Payton then followed the group to the parking lot. One of the group members offered Payton $5 before Peyton lifted his shirt and pulled out a gun.

At that point, the majority of the group ran away with only two left behind. Payton then told the remaining two to undress, which caused one of the men to attempt to run. Payton then shot the runner twice in the back.

Later this Thursday, Atlanta police located and arrested Payton for not only this shooting but for another one that occurred last month. Payton reportedly shot a man in his thigh after refusing to give Peyton his cellphone charger and food.

While Payton awaits trail, both victims are alive and recovering.