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G-A-Y Review

Jordan McDowell knows where he’ll be partying this Pride...

Written by . Published on August 24th 2011.


G-A-Y Review

THERE’S a new ‘it’ bar in town that goes by the name of G-A-Y. No, not Gay - Gee-Aye-Why. Do keep up.

G-A-Y’s rooftop is loud, proud and bigger than the rest. Complete with garden furniture your mother would approve of, the terrace is a haven with views out across Princess Street.

You’ve perhaps already passed it, whilst journeying down Princess Street, and seen emaciated scene queens dangling precariously from the rooftop? You’ve perhaps already visited the venue and heard pop’s best (mainly Gaga) pump at high volume throughout the two dance floors?

1The London super-club brand took over the now defunct Spirit Bar earlier this summer to make their first mark on the Mancunian gay scene. After a lick of paint, a glittery bar and the installation of a few dozen TV screens, the latest addition to the North’s gay capital was fully moved in. Despite the obvious upgrade in the visual aesthetic to the bar, the changes are relatively minimal, due to the building’s peculiar set up.

A large glazed fascia highlights an open plan two story venue with a mezzanine floor complete with snogging sofas. The two main floors stretch behind neighbouring bars but are windowless and dark which, although perfect for night time frivolity, limits the bar’s appeal in the daytime. One major plus for the bar is the roof terrace - one of only a handful in the village.

Whilst next door neighbour, Manto, boasts a balcony that was the first scene shot in Channel 4’s Queer As Folk and The Molly House on Bloom Street has a red-brick hidden gem, G-A-Y’s rooftop is loud, proud and bigger than the rest. Complete with garden furniture your mother would approve of, the terrace is a haven with views out across Princess Street and that Origin building site. What’s more, drinks don’t have to be decanted into plastic beakers because all glasses behind the bar are polycarbonate (hard plastic) so no bouncer will tell you off. Speaking of the bouncers, expect a vigorous “security” rub-down upon entering the establishment. Enough to make one blush.

G-A-YG-A-YDrinks are supremely cheap, much to the disgust of some of the other Village bars - just £1.50 for any pint, bottle, single or soft drink on Monday through to Thursday and on a Sunday. Fridays (including Pride Friday) is just £2 per drink, Saturday’s apparently more although I couldn’t find a price list. Feel free to party the night away with a late license until 4am (opens noon every day).

Both bars are long enough to avoid ever being too busy, whilst topless twinkie bar staff are always pleasant. Nevertheless, it’s best to send the prettiest gay you have in your party to ensure being served promptly. Also, ensure that members of the LGBT community make up the majority of your party to avoid being turned away at the door. Whilst certainly a controversial move (and not officially the venue’s door policy), the Village’s fight back against hen-party domination is well and truly on.

Other bars along the canal have become hives for homophobic abuse at the hands of lads following intoxicated ladies in feather-boas (and even the ladies themselves). G-A-Y is a world away from this without being totally anti-female/anti-hetero like some other venues, particularly on the Richmond Street strip.

G-A-Y’s northern excursion was a welcomed dose of super-status that has given the Village the kick up the pert bottom that it needed. Join the beautiful club kids before they get bored and move onto the next ‘it’ bar.

Jordan runs Manchester fashion blog www.fashionrambler.com

Follow Jordan on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

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39 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Pete RansomAugust 24th 2011.

It's a very welcome addition to that end of Canal Street, which was becoming a no-go area earlier this year with the amount of fights and drunken carnage going on down there.

The security is a little overwhelming but, in the context of what I've written above, I'll take that in exchange for making the bar a safe, fun place to be.

Oh, and the bar staff are very nice!

Christine KilbyAugust 24th 2011.

G-A-Y does very well in London and should do the same in Manchester. I fully understand the need to avoid hen/stag/homophobic trouble but this type of 'unwritten rule' whereby the majority of the group needs to be gay may perhaps lead to some seriously bad amateur dramatics by heterosexuals who are desperate to get in!

AnonymousAugust 25th 2011.

Love G-A-Y great atmosphere, much better as there's not tons of "straights!" well done on the security, in this day and age I feel it's only right.

Joe LucasAugust 25th 2011.

It's a shame about their extremely over-zealous door policy. I've been turned away there for not being a 'member'. As a gay man, I find that totally ridiculous. I also know of several other people (both gay and straight) who have had the same problem. I won't be trying to go again, as I can't be arsed with the hassle. I'll stick to the venues where they don't insist on punters fitting the stereotypes. It always puzzles me when certain gay venues facilitate prejudice and discrimation, they should be fighting against stuff like that, not making it worse

Joe LucasAugust 25th 2011.

I should add that I fully understand the need to stop large groups of hen parties/straight lads etc from getting in, but g-a-y are going well beyond that.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 30th 2014.

Their manager is also extremely rude. He told a gay colleague and I (also gay) to "fuck off if [we] didn't like the door policy" and then when I tried to take friends in recently, the bouncer said that I had been rude to them! Unbelievable. Boycott this place if you have any sense as they are clearly beyond rude and don't deserve to last on Canal Street

MagurdracAugust 25th 2011.

Cringe.

Paul ReynoldsAugust 25th 2011.

Iv tryed 3 times (just me and girlfriend) and 3 times been told wont be coming in because we are stright!! God help the world if a gay person was told they wasnt allowed in a bar for being gay

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 25th 2011.

I totally agree

BobskibobAugust 25th 2011.

Isn't this some kind of "inverted" discrimination ? ....surely if a member of the LGBT community went into say "Yates Bar" ....and was turned away for "not being straight" I wonder how quickly it would be all over the M.E.N. ...how ironic that the community that has been discriminated against for so long is now the perpetrator ...

Joe LucasAugust 25th 2011.

It's a tough one really. In an ideal world, there would be no need for gay venues. But we're not at that stage yet, not even in Manchester City Centre. The LGBT community needs safe places to go on a night out, and it is understandable that some venues choose not to allow certain people in, who could potentially stop it being a safe place. The comparisons described above are a bit flawed in that respect, as the same issues don't apply for straight people. The issue with g-a-y is that they go way beyond this, to the point of being discriminatory.

Paul ReynoldsAugust 26th 2011.

The women bouncer on G.A.Y use to work at molly house,and didnt let us in there for the same reason,I complaned on there facebook page and she added me to try prove there was no discrimination and then did the same thing and said same reason the next time I seen her, They all seem to moan about the Hen do's yet still let a lot in, We have been going the Village for about 8years but this last year or so has been a complete joke

Hero
Stephen CorkeAugust 26th 2011.

Back in the 90s you didn't get in anywhere in the Village without passing some sort of gay test. I can remember having to snog friends to get let in to some places. That was a sign of the times when there was much more discrimination and anti-gay violence than there is today. Having said that I'm glad that there's a fight back against the hen's and homophobes. It's a GAY Village and you're only there because we welcome you in - don't be surprised if we withdraw our invitation when you misbehave!

Christine KilbyAugust 28th 2011.

It depends where you are coming from ... The higher you are, the bigger the fall. Stephen, do you wait with trepediation when you attempt to enter a bar/restaurant/club with your straight friends?

Christine KilbyAugust 28th 2011.

trepidation

Hero
Stephen CorkeAugust 28th 2011.

Yes because of the fear they'll be allowed in. I'm kidding but I know what you mean. Still lots of venues gay or straight are selective about who they let in, I think that is more what happens rather than anti-straight discrimination.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Paul ReynoldsAugust 29th 2011.

When your blatantly told your not coming in because your stright then that is " anti-straight discrimination"

Andy TomlinsonAugust 28th 2011.

I think it's a good thing for bars to have different door policy's. Why does every bar have to let everybody in? There are plenty of mixed bars, plenty that cater for the twinks, we have men only bars and women only ones. Lots of gay men don't want to have to look at hen nights or talk to straights in every single bar they go in. I'm sure lots of straights don't want to see gays kissing or copping off in Yate's. There are plenty of bars - pick the ones that cater to the group of friends you've brought out with you. If you can't get in to a bar just be grown up and take your custom elsewhere. Simples.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Joe LucasAugust 30th 2011.

that's all well and good, but where do you draw the line? 'No blacks and asians here tonight thanks, it'll ruin the ambience?!' It's dodgy territory. I think that if you have the right attitude, you respect gay people, you're not drunk, they should just let you in. Camp, not camp, twink, lesbian, raving tranny, straight..., as long as you keep out the troublemakers, then who actually cares? That's what the gay village is all about

Simon McDonaldAugust 30th 2011.

"Lots of gay men don't want to... talk to straights in every single bar they go in"

What fucking planet are those people on though, really?

Hero
Jordan McDowellAugust 30th 2011.

Wasn't allowed in Oxford Road's Font because I'm a gayer. Very embarrassed to admit that I was trying to get into that dive, honestly, I wouldn't have tried if I wasn't meeting people. Ha.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MagurdracAugust 30th 2011.

If you were the only one not allowed in, maybe it's just your attitude.

Hero
Jordan McDowellSeptember 5th 2011.

Haha, perhaps! There were three of us and at least one of us actually likes the place so then again, perhaps not.

MagurdracSeptember 9th 2011.

I get turned away from places just for looking like trouble, seemingly. I don't even open my mouth, and as far as I know I look just normal! haha

Paul ReynoldsSeptember 12th 2011.

Thought we give it 1more chance on Sat, Was told wasnt get in this time because there was to many people in there that "were dressed like me". I said what with yellow trainers on and a tshirt with a pic of Frank Butcher on?? You be surprised to hear the half-wits on the door didnt have a answer to this

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 23rd 2013.

www.facebook.com/…/1440693396145957… New group on facebook for this very problem

MykalApril 27th 2013.

Appalling, disgusting and illegal behaviors from door staff make it impossible to leave an actual review about the bar. GAY are prejudiced and discriminate against people they perceive as not gay!

We were original refused entry as a larger mixed sex group and as previously mentioned the term 'not regulars' was used. A member of my party who is gay and a regular to the village said this has happened to him on several occasion when he is in mixed company, never when he goes with his partner or all male groups.

We later split up and did meet again in GAY but were subsequently asked to leave due to being overly intoxicated - we had one drink inside the bar!!!! We were approached by a member of staff as i was hugging a female colleague ( i was leaving my job of 5 yrs that night- hence being in a mixed group and the non gay hugs).

The guy that asked us to leave refused to deviate from his obvious scripted responses and give his security details to me. The door staff were as equally rude and obnoxious for no reason other than they have obviously been instructed by GAY management to not allow perceived straight people into the venue or subsequently ask them to leave using the 'step outside for some fresh air' and 'you are a little intoxicated' scripts which they are incapable of deviating from.

The obvious discriminatory policies of GAY are both disgusting and illegal and apart from leaving as many reviews as i can i have raised formal complaint s with the Security Industries Authority, my local council, trading standards and will be writing to my local MP as well and i would urge anyone else that has been on the receiving end of this reverse discrimination to make as many complaints against he company as possible because only if they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law will they start adhering to it!!Appalling, disgusting and illegal behaviors from door staff make it impossible to leave an actual review about the bar. GAY are prejudiced and discriminate against people they perceive as not gay!

We were original refused entry as a larger mixed sex group and as previously mentioned the term 'not regulars' was used. A member of my party who is gay and a regular to the village said this has happened to him on several occasion when he is in mixed company, never when he goes with his partner or all male groups.

We later split up and did meet again in GAY but were subsequently asked to leave due to being overly intoxicated - we had one drink inside the bar!!!! We were approached by a member of staff as i was hugging a female colleague ( i was leaving my job of 5 yrs that night- hence being in a mixed group and the non gay hugs).

The guy that asked us to leave refused to deviate from his obvious scripted responses and give his security details to me. The door staff were as equally rude and obnoxious for no reason other than they have obviously been instructed by GAY management to not allow perceived straight people into the venue or subsequently ask them to leave using the 'step outside for some fresh air' and 'you are a little intoxicated' scripts which they are incapable of deviating from.

The obvious discriminatory policies of GAY are both disgusting and illegal and apart from leaving as many reviews as i can i have raised formal complaint s with the Security Industries Authority, my local council, trading standards and will be writing to my local MP as well and i would urge anyone else that has been on the receiving end of this reverse discrimination to make as many complaints against he company as possible because only if they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law will they start adhering to it!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Peter LeslieDecember 23rd 2013.

www.facebook.com/…/1440693396145957… New group on facebook for this very problem

Simon TurnerApril 27th 2013.

Its called GAY. Does that word not ring any bells with you? It's not aimed at straight people. You can bleat and bleat but legally a venue can turn away customers, they're not obliged to give a reason. The reason your gay friend gets in when he's with gay friends is because the venue would prefer a GAY clientele rather than mouthy straights out celebrating someone leaving their job.

AshbergApril 28th 2013.

Smacks of double standards... Remember folks victimisation only works one way, if you are in the perceived 'majority' you have to shut up and take it... You can't have your fairy cakes and eat them boys

1 Response: Reply To This...
Peter LeslieDecember 23rd 2013.

Sorry it doesn't matter what your sexuality is.. there is now a new group on facebook.. www.facebook.com/…/1440693396145957…

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