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A Gay Trek Across Europe, Night 2: Exploring the Queer Bars of Copenhagen
I didn’t think my second night in Copenhagen could get any better than my first. Boy, was I mistaken. Join me as I check out two more Copenhagen gay bars.
First I head to My Fair Ladies, a show tunes bar that plays nothing but musicals on the TVs. After speaking to the bartender, Martin (who has one of the most infectious smiles I’ve ever seen), I learn that he’s actually the bar’s owner.
When I ask him why he decided to open the bar less than two years ago, he tells me because there was nothing like it among Copenhagen gay bars. “I was told you can’t just play show tunes,” he says. “That no one would come. But people love it.” It’s a Thursday night, and the bar is completely packed.
In addition to playing show tunes, Martin plays other gay favorites. He plays the Spanish version of Willam’s “Boy Is a Bottom,” “Es Una Pasiva.” He even plays “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” from Disney’s Mulan, in Danish. Every person in the bar breaks into song.
The second of the Copenhagen gay bars I head to is called Monastic. This bar is one of the — if not the — largest bar in Copenhagen. It’s huge, which is partly why it’s apparently struggling. I’m told by a local that the bar reopens every two years after failing. But they don’t want to get rid of the space. The bar exists in an old monastery, with catacombs roughly 800 years old. It’s completely underground.
Monastic is hands-down one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been to. The bar has various spaces that cater to different sexual orientations. There’s a bear room, complete with a hairy, harness-wearing bartender. (Just your type, Adam Rippon.) There’s a lesbian room and a straight room.
But people are flowing freely from room to room. It’s not as if the bar is segregated. In fact, I’d say based on the way it’s laid out that it’s one of the most inclusive bars I’ve ever been to.
There are plenty of dark corners in this labyrinth. A black swing is even set up, for aesthetics and/or play. I speak to the owner of the bar, who also happens to be bartending tonight in the bear section.
“There were two necessary things I thought were important in creating a gay bar in Copenhagen,” he tells me. “Porn on the walls, and a glory hole. Denmark doesn’t have that, and it’s an international standard for gay bars.”
Alas, pictures aren’t allowed inside, but he lets me take a couple as long as no other patrons are visible in the photos. My favorite of the photos I take is of the disco ball and the upside-down mannequin.
The bar stays open plenty late, although I dipped out around 4:30 a.m. Hopefully this place sees success, because there’s no other place like it in all of Denmark.
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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