Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lin

Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lin


An exhilarating and frequently horny bar hop, spanning three cities and three decades, which asks: does gay still have a place?


Neon lights and dark rooms; pumping house and drag queens on counters; first kisses, last orders; the gay bar has long been a place of joy, solidarity and sexual expression, whatever your scene, whatever you’re seeking. But in urban centres around the world, they are closing. With this cultural demolition, we must remember to ask: Who were the patrons? What did the bars mean to them? And where can we go now?


Gay Bar is a sparkling, richly individual history of the gay bars of London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, focusing on the post-AIDs crisis years of the 1990s to the present day. It is also the story of Jeremy Atherton Lin’s own experiences as a gay man, and the lifelong romance that began one restless night in Soho. In prose both playful and challenging, he immerses his reader in the unique experience of a life lived in and out of these spaces.


From leather parties in the Castro to the Black Cat riots of Los Angeles, from glory holes and Crisco-slicked dungeons to Gay Liberation Front touch-ins, from disco at Studio One to Britpop at Popstarz, from irony to abandon, from hedonism to love, Gay Bar is an intimate, stylish and necessary celebration of the institution of the gay bar.




'I can't remember the last time I've been so happily surprised and enchanted by a book. Gay Bar is an absolute tour de force.' - Maggie Nelson


"One of the best writers I've encountered, remaking the world sentence by immaculate sentence." - Olivia Laing


"Like the hypnotic thumps of good house music, Jeremy Atherton Lin's voice pulses. Painstakingly researched and tenderly written, Gay Bar marks queer bars as sites of resistance and reinvention. I longed for nothing more than to club hop with Atherton Lin, to occupy the spaces between light and shadow, between love and desire, and to consume the night alongside him so that we might emerge wholly new." - Alex Espinoza, author of, Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime


"Jeremy Atherton Lin's GAY BAR is a book of rare dream-like power, an exacting anthropology of queer life through the lenses of London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Blackpool. Brainy, audacious, funny, vulnerable, and sexy, it's endlessly awake not just to codes and signs but to a culture that's changing faster than most of us are able to see." - Paul Lisicky, author of, Later: My Life At the Edge of the World


'Each page made me yearn for the dance floor and made me think about our need for queer spaces. I'm so glad that someone has written this definitive book about gay bars.'
- Amelia Abraham, author of Queer Intentions

'Searching, erudite and sexy. With verve and grace, Gay Bar probes the past, present and future of gay life, while refusing easy binaries. It is about pleasure, but deeply serious too. One of the best books I have read in ages.' - Katherine Angel, author of Daddy Issues



  • Details

    Imprint: Granta

    Publication Date: 4/3/21

    ISBN: 9781783785810

    Pages: 320

    Type: Hardback

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