“Am I in the gayborhood?” I ask the bartender of Jailhouse CPH, a gay dive bar in Copenhagen with a jail theme.
“All of Copenhagen is the gayborhood,” he laughs. “There are gay bars everywhere.”
His name is Rasmus, and he’s dressed like a prison officer — mandatory dress code for all the bartenders who work at Jailhouse. The bar is cute, but then again, I love a themed bar with a schtick.
At Jailhouse, you can have drinks with another man in a cell, completely barred in. If you look next to you, you’ll see tick marks and images of nude women etched into the fake concrete walls.
You can even smoke cigarettes. Smoking is allowed in Copenhagen in bars that are under a certain size. Given the population of Copenhagen, roughly 600,000, most gay bars are pretty tiny.
After taking a shot with me, Rasmus recommends I head over to Men’s Bar — a gay bar exclusive to men that has been open since the early 2000s. “It’s fetish night there,” he warns me.
Luckily I’m decked out in some leather gear, donning leather pants and leather suspenders. I figure I’ll have no problem fitting in. By the time I get there it’s already midnight. Fetish night started at 8 p.m., and apparently most guys cleared out around 11.
The bar is dark, painted black. The most colorful thing on the walls is a large rainbow flag, roughly six by 10 feet, dimly lit. All of the artwork on the walls is inspired by Tom of Finland.
“Dark rooms aren’t allowed,” the otter bartender at Men’s Bar tells me. “But there are dark corners,” he says with a smile, “and things may or may not be happening there if you look closely.”
By 1 a.m. only a few patrons remain. That’s roughly when the bartender, who I’ve been chatting with for the past hour, leans over the bar and starts aggressively making out with me. He unbuttons my leather pants and starts playing with my junk while the rest of the stragglers, yet to leave the bar, watch. I hop up on the barstool on my knees. He takes off my undies and begins blowing me.
No one else in the bar seems phased in the slightest. They continue drinking.
After I’ve finished, the bartender smiles and says, “Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Copenhagen!”