Review: Gay Bar by Jeremy Lin Atherton

Title: Gay Bar

Author: Jeremy Atherton Lin

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Granta Books

The Blurb

From leather parties in the Castro to Gay Liberation Front touch-ins; from disco at Studio One to dark rooms in Vauxhall railway arches, the gay bar has long been a place of joy, solidarity and sexual expression. But around the world, gay bars are closing. In the wake of this cultural demolition, Jeremy Atherton Lin rediscovers the party boys and renegades who lived and loved in these spaces.

Gay Bar is a sparkling, richly individual history of enclaves in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is also the story of the author’s own experiences as a mixed-race gay man, and the transatlantic romance that began one restless night in Soho. Expansive, vivacious, curious, celebratory, Gay Bar asks: where shall we go tonight?

The Review

Jeremy Atherton Lin’s book Gay Bar is a great amalgamation of bothe memoir and history book. The book centres on not only gay bars but the community he finds or at times doesn’t find in them. With Atherton Lin we travel across the western world to look at the gay bars and what they mean to people. How they became a safe haven for the exploration of sexuality, something that has only been legal for just over half a century.

I did feel that sometimes Jeremy Atherton Lin kept you at arms length in the memoir part of Gay Bar and therefore I did find the history sections much more engaging. However, it is an interesting read but not for the faint hearted. If you are offended by reading about sex in its many forms then this may not be the read for you.

Gay Bar by Jeremy Atherton Lin is available now.

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