Even in a country like India, where quite a large portion of the society still holds conservative ideas, couples hanging out are neither a big deal, nor an unusual one. Our nation has over the time digested the fact that people who happen to like each other romantically, go out together once in a while.
But the evolution has not been the same in case of all the couples that exist out there.
Gay bars or haunts were always a thing in countries like USA and those of Western Europe and Scandinavia. But at the same time, they had been facing existential crisis on a daily basis, long before the deadliest attack against the LGBT community happened at a gay bar called Pulse in Orlando on June 12, 2016 where around 50 homosexual males were killed.
Until that happened, the deadliest attack had been in New Orleans, over 40 years ago. On the week when the LGBT community celebrated its fourth Gay Pride — four years after Stonewall — an arsonist set fire to the Upstairs Lounge at the French Quarter, killing 32 people on June 24, 1973.
Across the world, many queer clubs and bars shuttered down for lack of clientele but India lost no sleep over these questions, namely because it had few gay bars to begin with. One of the first gay-bars of the country – Voodoo had been shut down in 2010 after a police raid. But those which did exist, managed to survive well and good through all the stigma and eyebrow-raises.
Here are 5 haunts in India for the LGBT community to hang-out for:
- The Ghetto Pub, Mumbai – Tucked in between two shops next to the Mahalaxmi Temple, this pub is a preferred haunt for the well-to-do youths from South Mumbai. Apart from being very much gay-friendly, it has an psychedelic atmosphere with old rock music from the 80’s and 90’s, edgy neon lighting and rebellious graffiti art on the walls.
- Café Mondegar, Mumbai – This iconic café remains one of the liveliest haunts in Colaba, Mumbai if you are looking for some quick food and beer at reasonable price with your group of friends or partner. With roots in the early 20th century, they have some legendary murals and some good hip music in collection. This café has carved a niche in Mumbai’s famous nightlife and they have always been friendly towards the LGBT community.
- Chez Jerome Q Café, New Delhi – Located near Crescent Mall, this coming-of-age bar and restaurant welcomes all LGBTQ people and their companions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, quick-bites, coffee and drinks. It has a friendly atmosphere, soothing music and a laid-back setting, overlooking the historical monument of Qutb Minar. Chez Jerome features live music, karaoke event called ‘Queeraoke’ and hosts special weekly events including Bi- and Pan-sexual Night every 2nd Thursday of the month. There is a large rainbow flag hoisted at the café proclaiming their support for the community.
- The Humming Tree, Bangalore – This pub-cum-restaurant located in Indira Nagar, Bangalore is a pioneer in acknowledging LGBT right among the city’s hangouts. At the year-ending party of 2015, they redefined their ‘couple-entry’ strategy and opened doors for the LGBT couples of the city to ring in the New Year, while most of the other places did not even allow cross-dressing. The place also held live performances by members of the LGBT community.
- Ginger, Kolkata –In a city not widely famous for LGBT acceptance, this restaurant cum bar called Ginger is a safe and popular haunt for the community members of Kolkata. They open the doors for the gay men on the weekends. With cheap drinks and food, this place is quite popular among the homosexual men of the city. But this place took a backseat after refusing entry to a rape-survivor.