Drinking is legal on the streets of Brussels. The majority of Brussels gay bars are across the street from one another, the dark rooms here are for serious action and in a group of eight men, you get five different languages from four different countries.
This leads to an interesting dynamic: Lots of schmoozing. Lots of bopping from one bar to the next. (Bars give you plastic cups to carry your drink around in the streets.) And there’s no real end to the partying.
On weekends, Brussels gay bars are open fairly indefinitely, closing at the bartenders’ discretion. A bar will often be predominantly straight until 3 a.m. When the gay bars close, the gays swarm to this one straight bar, which instantly becomes a gay bar.
Other Brussels gay bars are just open for after hours, opening around 5 a.m.
So the party is real. The boys are international. And people get lit, which is generally accepted.
I start my sixth night traversing Europe at a new French cabaret-style bar, which to be honest puts all the burlesque shows in my New York City home to shame. The bar is called Cabaret Mademoiselle, and it offers a pretty mixed crowd of gays and straights.
After the show I head to the main gay street in Brussels, Rue du Marché au Charbon. If you’re having trouble finding it, just look down at the cross walk.
Once in the gayborhood I bopped around from Le Baroque to La Belgica to Station BXL. Alas, the popular bar Boys Boudoir closed down recently. Being 1 a.m. it was way too early and the bars were fairly empty … until we went to Stammbar.
Stammbar isn’t the type of bar where you take pictures. It’s a hardcore, leather, gay-porn-on-the-walls-type establishment.
When I met a man peeing at the urinals (more like troughs, really, not individual urinals), he explained to me the last time he was here there was a man lying across the trough, mouth open, enjoying all the guys’ golden showers.
The dark room was half the size of the bar. You can walk around through the dark room’s many nooks where naughty things occur. That’s where I made some “friends,” who immediately dropped to their knees for me. So, you know, lifelong friends.
If you’re in Brussels, this is without a doubt the route to take. Start on the gay street. Shmooze, drink outside, meet people from all around the world. Make friends. Then end your night at Stammbar, where you’re sure to meet a different type of friend.
Zachary Zane is traveling through Europe for the month of March for Hornet, documenting gay nightlife, sex, and LGBT culture in each of the cities he visits. Find the entire travel series here.
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