Welcome to this portal site about the past and present of Amsterdam's gay and lesbian nightlife!
Here you will find an overview of the Amsterdam gay streets
, with their history and references to more extensive information about the most notable bars and clubs.
For each street there's a listing of all the current gay and lesbian places with links to their websites and social media.
DUE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, ALL GAY VENUES ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED
- Gay bars and cafés will reopen as of June 1, 2020
, but with strict limitations: reservation in advance is mandatory and people must keep 1,5 meter distance. Click here
for information about the measures at each place.
- Clubs and discos have to stay closed until at least September 1, 2020
Reguliersdwarsstraat by night
Reguliersdwarsstraat by night
Compared to other Gay Capitals, Amsterdam is almost like a Gay Village. But despite being small in size, the Amsterdam gay scene has a long history and a large variety of places. They are concentrated in and around the following streets, each with its own character:
Already in 1927, café 't Mandje
opened on this street and attracted a mix of dykes, queers, whores and folk boys. A similar variety of people visited café Monico, which was located at the nearby Lange Niezel for no less than 60 years: from 1941 to 2001.
Zeedijk in 1976 with second from the right Café 't Mandje
(photo: Han van Gool - click for the original)
In the 1960s and '70s a few more gay places opened at Zeedijk, but in the 1980s all of them were closed down. However, 't Mandje
was reopened in 2008, making it the oldest still existing LGBT bar of Amsterdam.
In the northern part of the Zeedijk, a concentration of four gay bars emerged around the year 2000, of which only The Queen's Head is left. This café opened in 1998 and is famous for its dragshow bingo nights.
Here, the gay leather scene made its appearance at the end of the 1950s with hotel Tiemersma, from where the famous leather bar Argos
was opened in 1965. Also at this street was the travesty bar Oporto, which around the mid-1960s was known as Madame Arthur.
Warmoesstraat in 2012 with the flags of various leather businesses
(photo: Tom Morris - click to enlarge)
Since the 1960s, gay and leather bars like The Eagle, Club Jaecques and hotel/bar Stablemaster opened at Warmoesstraat. From 1987 to 2010 there was also a disco called Cockring, which was briefly continued under the names Fuxxx and The Warehouse.
Nowadays, the leather scene is represented at Warmoesstraat by the leather and cruise bars The Eagle
and Dirty Dicks
and the leather and fetish store RoB. The leather shop of Mr. B moved to Prinsengracht in 2018.
During the late 1950s there was the chic gay café Circuit at the southern end of Spuistraat. In the northern part of the street a few gay brothels opened in the 1980s, of which currently only Boysclub 21 is left.
Not far from there, at the Nieuwezijds Kolk, are the cruise bars The Cuckoo's Nest and The Web, both dating back to the mid-1980s and each with a large darkroom. Somewhat more to the north, the only existing gay sauna of the city was opened in 2013: Nieuwezijds
Spuistraat with gay café Prik during EuroPride 2016
(click to enlarge)
In the central part of Spuistraat you can find the popular gay café Prik, which opened in 2006. Just around the corner is the only dragshow restaurant of the city, called 't Sluisje, established in 1995.
The first gay café in this street was Mac Donald
, which opened in 1963 but still had blinded windows and a doorman at the door. This changed in 1970, when Lunchroom Downtown
was opened as the first open gay place of Amsterdam.
The Reopening of Reguliersdwarsstraat in 2011
(click to enlarge)
As of 1980 Reguliersdwarsstraat became the most famous and trendy gay street
of Amsterdam, first with gay café April
and in the 1990s with gay dancing Havana
. After gay disco De Viking
from the 1970s, a new popular disco called Exit
opened in 1988.
Nowadays, you can go out in the open-minded gay club NYX and the Exit Café, as well as the gay bars BLEND, Soho
, Taboo and Taboo Kantine
. On the Rembrandtplein-side of Reguliersdwarsstraat there's the Caribbean gay bar Reality, which was opened in 1996.
The first gay bar along the Amstel opened as early as 1929, after the war followed by an increasing number of gay bars like the popular Gaiety
. The most famous one was the Amstel Taveerne from 1964, which was renamed Amstel Fifty Four in 2007.
Queen's Day outside the gay bars alongside Amstel in 2012
(click to enlarge)
In addition, you can also find the gay cafés FAME and Montmartre, with the small gay club YOLO a little further. Around the corner from Rembrandtplein is the well-known dragshow bar De Lellebel, which opened in 1997.
Before 2015, various kinds of gay bars were also found in the adjacent streets Paardenstraat and Amstelstraat, where also the world-famous gay disco iT
was located during the 1990s.
Unique opened here in 1951 as the first gay hotel in Amsterdam, soon followed by the West End hotel with on the ground floor the Cosmo Bar. The hotel and the bar lasted until the year 2000.
Kerkstraat in 1983 with De Pul, hotel Aero and Club Lord
(photo: Gerard Dukker - click for the original)
In the 1960s and '70s, gay cafés such as Incognito, Bonaparte, De Pul and Club Lord, the Homolulu nightclub and the Thermos Night sauna were added. At that time it made Kerkstraat the main gay street of Amsterdam, until that position was taken over by Reguliersdwarsstraat
in the early 1980s.
Still there is the gay hotel Amistad, while you can go out to the Spijker Bar
, which still has the atmosphere from the late 1970s. Also in Kerkstraat are the popular fetish club Church (opened in 2008) and the fetish shops The Bronx and Black Body.
Elsewhere in the city
Already in the early 18th century, gay men could meet and have sex at a few places that were similar to the molly houses
In the early 20th century Amsterdam had about five gay bars and around 1930 there was also a well-known gay café right around the corner of Dam square.
Gay disco iT at Amstelstraat in 1991
(photo: David Jarrett - click to enlarge)
In 1952 the DOK was opened at the Singel, which became the largest gay dancing of post-war Europe. It was not less popular than De Schakel, the community center of gay rights organization COC
near the Leidseplein. The biggest and best-known gay bathhouse was Thermos, which from 1971 to 2015 was located at Raamstraat.
Today there are also a few more gay venues spread outside the aforementioned gay streets, such as the alternative LGBT disco De Trut, the lesbian cafés Saarein
and Bar Buka, as well as openminded club JACK and café Brug34.