Gaylinc Fall 2017 pub crawl is another edition of our regular trips along gay pubs in Amsterdam. We check out new bars and revisit established ones. That’s how we try to keep a finger on the pulse of the LGBTQI nightlife in Amsterdam and give you the best tips and advice. And of course we have a great night out. This fall we took a tour along the following pubs: ‘t Mandje, Queen’s Head, The Web, Hotspot, and Prik.
‘t Mandje: Still going strong, giving you a real local feel
We started at ’t Mandje, the oldest still surviving gay bar in Amsterdam. It is still going strong as a great meeting point for men and women, young and old, locals and visitors of the city. On average the clients are slightly older. Thanks to its historical interior and the many Amsterdammers visiting the pub, it has a real local feel. Everybody feels quickly at home in this bar and since it is so tiny, it will soon feel populated and festive.
The music is a bit loud sometimes. On average, you can expect (inter)national hits from the 1950’s till the 1990’s. We came from different parts of the city, so this place was a perfect spot to meet up and get ready for the rest of the pub crawl. And that is one of the strong points of ‘t Mandje: an easy place to meet-up when you go out with friends, or the last stop before each goes their way home.
What is special about ‘t Mandje is its regular program. On Sunday afternoons you can go to a Sunday Singalong with Suzanna. From 4PM onwards, Suzanna will accompany the crowd with her digital accordion to a sing-a-long of popular tunes. On Tuesdays from 8PM onwards, Pete will treat you to the best Jazz tunes. And once every so months, Nicola Snaas and her musicians is giving a live jazz concert. Look at the Facebook page of ‘t Mandje for the latest events news.
Queen’s Head: missing the neighbors?
Further down the Zeedijk street is the Queen’s Head. It was the next stop on our pub crawl. We arrived on a Friday night around 10PM and were surprised how quiet it was in this pub. Known for its events, like karaoke, bingo, and drag shows, at this time of the night there were about 10 other patrons in the bar. Not the heaving mass of gay men we are used to.
It could be that we were just too early. The DJ was still building up his equipment, so a busier time of the evening was possibly ahead. In the time we spent at the bar it didn’t get much busier. Hopefully it was only the one off-night at this bar. What also could play a part is that the last several years a few gay bars in the neighborhood closed down. That brought the natural flow of gay men wandering from one bar to another in this street to an almost standstill.
However, Queen’s Head is organizing a lot of events. And in our circle of friends in the Amsterdam gay community, many of them visit those events. So we’re in good hope that this bar will stay in business and entertain you when you visit it.
The Web: where horny men go
Next we headed to The Web, known as one of the cruising bars in Amsterdam. Recently it has branched out to become more than just a cruising bar. It hosted nights during the Amsterdam Dance Event and it has regular DJ nights. Also at other occasions you can expect special events, like readings.
The night we went on the pub crawl it was a regular night at The Web. It enforced a strict no women policy. So if you are in a mixed group you have to take this into account. The lady in our group went next door to the Italian restaurant where she drank a cup of espresso and chatted with the charming waitresses.
The ground floor of The Web hosts a bright, clean bar. It has an interior styled as a mix of an ally way, a country house room with (fake) fireplace, and a barbershop chair. Upstairs is the spacious darkroom: one of the bigger ones in Amsterdam.
During regular nights the cruising hours can vary, depending on national holidays, office hours, and special city events. Whenever men are free and horny, they will flock to The Web (and neighboring Cuckoo’s Nest). But on our night out, the number of men was limited. Expect an older and (sexually) experienced crowd.
Hotspot: going to survive?
And on we went to the Hotspot, a bar in a little alleyway close to Damsquare. In that same alleyway is also the famous coffeeshop Abraxas and the weekly XXX Queer Bardancing. Hotspot moved to this street some time ago from its old site on the Amstel. The new site is a brightly lit, narrow bar. Interesting is the smoking room halfway up the bar. Overall the interior has a slight neon, nineties feel.
When we arrived around 12PM it was dead quiet in the bar. Only us and the staff were present. The staff gave us a friendly welcome and for us as a group of friends it was a great opportunity to relax and have a chat. But it is not good for business. We hope Hotspot survives, because they organize regular events and really try to turn the bar into a hot spot. But if business is like this every night, you may be too late to be able to enjoy it.
Prik: the gay Central Perk
Finally we went to Prik. It was well past midnight but the bar and its outdoor street terrace were very busy. It gave the bar a real buzz, probably helped by the unseasonally warm weather.
Prik is one of the pillars of the gay scene in Amsterdam. The staff always go out of their way to make you feel welcome and they serve great drinks and snacks. It is the gay bar with the best cocktails in Amsterdam. This is the place where a large part of the Amsterdam gay community hangs out and meest their friends. Almost like the Central Perk of gay Amsterdam.
We enjoyed the great atmosphere with a couple of last drinks for the night. We were surrounded mostly by men in their 30’s and 40’s from all kind of scenes within the gay community. This is the kind of place where you can hang out for a long time with friends, but also meet new guys. A great place for us to end this pub crawl.