Whether you live an active nightlife or not, every college student has at least once experienced the bar/club culture.
However, there are slight differences between those of queer clubs and bars, and those for the opposite-sex-loving people. Here you will find some of these differences illustrated by several local clubs.
Gay clubs are very welcoming for straight people, and not all clubs will remind you of Cruising (1980). On the other hand, not every regular straight club is a boring dance floor filled with the talentless drunk individuals. To make our analysis easier, let’s look at the gay bars and clubs, comparing them to the regular ones for straight people.
If you visit three regular straight clubs in Prague – or pretty much in any city – in a single evening, you will hear songs like “Turn Down For What” at each one of them. Then again, on your drive home you will hear it again in the uber or taxi. No person should have to hear this song four times in one night, but that’s kind of where we’re musically-speaking in the straight club culture. Straight clubs all pretty much stick to the same play-list, whereas the gay clubs tend to be as diverse as possible. They’ll play ’80s, they’ll play EDM, Daft Punk followed by Madonna, followed by an ABBA remix, followed by some track you have never heard before. It’s not my opinion that gay clubs have a better and more varied taste in music; it’s a fact. A good example in Prague would be the Friends Club, which is known to be one of the most favored hangout places for (but not only) LGBTQ people. The Friends Club regularly offers different events from karaoke nights to amazing drag shows. All for only 20 czk entry fee! On the other hand, the Cross Club would be a great example of the last place to visit. Despite being well-known and providing occasional live shows, it is rumored to be a junkie club.
Another big difference between the gay and straight clubs is in the role of women. At a straight club the vagina holds more power than the golden ring in a Tolkien novel. Guys go out hunting, buying drinks for their prey and laying down their best flirt to claim her. The logic holds that without women, a straight club won’t make money. This is why girls have the priority to enter for free, get served at the bar first and much more. At a gay club though? They’re the non-essential ingredients. The power shifts away and they’re a little more than the set decoration and an almost-last-resort dance partner. Talk about equality!
Though I have to say, a small part of me dies a little when I witness how straight male brethren attempt to capture the female of their choice. I have literally witnessed men say, “Hey, you want a shot?” before they even introduced themselves. That’s really how all fairy tale relationships start, right? So now that we have pounded back a few Lindsay Lohans and Last Night’s Mistakes, let’s move this party to the dance floor, where the male bends the female in front of him over, and proceeds to do his best impression of a paint shaker. It seems as if this has more or less become the standard: getting the girl drunk enough to be into you. Here’s the huge difference you’ll notice in the gay bars. It’s still a bunch of super-charged dudes trying to score, but there’s less trickery involved. There is less: “Hey, let me get you drunk so you’ll fool around with me tonight.” The decision to make out on the dance floor or get super handsy in the corner is less alcohol-fueled and driven more by consent. Rarely will you see two gay guys and think that one is taking advantage of the other, forcing you to step in and help.
Remember when I said gays love it when straight people come to their bars? Well, that’s not always true. There are some bars they don’t want you to go to. These are usually the bars, where boys go late at night to make out with strangers and engage in a little slap and tickle in a dark corner. Such an example would be the Factory club in Prague. With slightly overpriced entry fees you can experience the Czech leather subculture – given that you’re a male since girls aren’t allowed to enter. With it’s own sex shop, where you can buy branded underwear, rings and lubricants, this men’s club is ideal for boys looking for some exciting kinky time. In its deeper corners you’ll find corridors and rooms filled with surprises: sling, playroom with TV, darkrooms, glory-holes, video-games, a few showers to maintain your hygiene and much more. It would, however, be unfair to only discuss the same-sex-loving places as there are plenty of fun and interesting straight clubs in Prague too. One of them is M1 Lounge Bar & Club – one of the smart nightspots in Prague, that attracts a diverse international crowd. With differently themed music nights, magic shows and much more, it is a great place to visit in the center of Prague.
Photos courtesy of Friends Prague, Cross Club, Factory Club in Prague and M1 Lounge Bar & Club.