Brisbane can often be seen as a barren wasteland when it comes to meeting guys, and yes, there is some truth to this. There are always options, and if you’re new to the city or perhaps want to rediscover aspects of the iconic Brisbane gay dating landscape, then read on! Bad luck if you’re a smoker though…
The Beat Megaclub, 677 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
Those who are old enough to remember the times before our caring government banned smoking, well – pretty much everywhere, will remember The Beat as it used to be. A faint haze of cigarette smoke hung around its dark interior, giving the air a distinctive smell, as well as acting like a kind of real life Photoshop, blurring out the imperfections on the face of the guy sitting across the bar. Those days are over, and the smoke free air inside The Beat now smells of spilled beer, sweat and desperation. This place is kind of a pick up joint, and it’s particularly favoured by those who maybe pay a little bit too much attention to their eyebrows, wear tank tops, and hit the dance floor when a Lady Gaga song starts playing (and yes, they know all the words). The outside patio is nice, and you can kind of smoke there – in a walled off area like an animal in a cage. You can also enjoy the balmy Brisbane nights and actually have a conversation.
The Wickham, 308 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley
The Wickham attracts a more mixed crowd, and here you can encounter young and cute hipsters, macho bears and drag queens with voices that can pickle onions, all enjoying a reasonably priced beer in what is quite frankly, one of the loveliest looking buildings in Brisbane. Drag shows are a popular weekday event at The Wickham, since the sight of an imposingly tall drag queen lip synching to torch songs is timeless entertainment. Like The Beat, and indeed, like all Brisbane gay and lesbian venues, Mondays and Tuesdays at The Wickham are kind of dead. There are a moderate number of drinkers enjoying a quiet post work beer, and yet they disappear into the night before it gets too late. If you’re looking for a gay party on any night of the week, you’re in the wrong city.
The Family, 8 McLachlan Street, Fortitude Valley
While The Family presumably prides itself as the nightclub to end all nightclubs (in Brisbane anyway, which doesn’t say too much on an international scale), with a fair dose of the pretention that comes with that attitude, there’s one thing that they get right… very right. On Sunday nights, the pretty young and trendy gays of Brisbane descend on The Family for Fluffy, a weekly gay night with music that walks a fine line between electro and mainstream and never overbalances. The clientele are easy on the eye too… While the club is certainly gay friendly, visiting on a night other than Sunday can be a tad disappointing, with exorbitant entry prices and an increasing feeling that the club has slipped since its heyday.
OK, so you don’t technically have to visit a gay club or bar in order to meet guys, but it can sometimes be fun to see what’s on offer – the thrill of the hunt. Many gay men find it somewhat limiting to have to go to gay bars when they want to meet someone, and this is a reasonable point of view. Of course, there’s online dating, and some sites certainly attract a higher calibre of guys than others (hint, hint). There are also a number of less alcohol-fuelled events to choose from in Brisbane, and you might want to pick up a copy of Q News, Brisbane’s best gay community magazine, and their events section offers comprehensive listings for Brisbane. Our personal pick is the annual Brisbane Queer Film Festival, held at the rather stunning New Farm Powerhouse. The dates vary from year to year, but are usually March/April, and the festival offers a well-selected range of gay, bi, lesbian and transgender themed films. There are discussions where you can meet your fellow filmgoers, and yes, yes… there are a couple of big parties.
Image via dave.dave.dave on Flickr.