Saturday, April 29, 2006

Beirut's Anti-Gay Gay Bar

Apparently, the new gay bar in Beirut, Wolf, is operating under the same discriminatory policies as the infamous Dunkin' Donuts, which has been known to deny service to "overtly gay" (i.e. feminine) guys.

A few weeks ago on a Saturday evening, a gay man and his boyfriend, who could easily be defined as "flaming", were denied entrance to Wolf because of the latter's appearance.

Worse yet, when questioned about its policy, the owner freely admitted having instucted the bouncer to turn away any "overtly feminine" clientele, presumably to safeguard the desired "bear" ambiance of the bar. The bar's website used to be, but is now

I will no longer frequent Wolf. It's reprehensible for some gay men to reject others based on vague notions of masculinity. As gay men, we are all rejected by the larger society, and further segregation serves no positive purpose.

I understand that in order to be a bear bar, Wolf wants to entice burly, bulky, hairy, (and often bald) guys to its dimly-lit, overly-decorated den. Furthermore, the owner may have foolishly thought that its desired clientele would be diswayed by the presence of "feminine" guys. But, as I have said, this notion is foolish.

In no other country do you see bear bars enacting discriminatory laws. Sure, they might be "jeans and leather only", but they don't discriminate based on "femininity".

Nevertheless, they still manage to remain burly. Why is this? "Feminine" guys generally have no interest in being in bear bars. They much rather hang out at limp-wrist havens like X-OM. They might stop in to leather clubs once in a while, just as leather men might go see a drag show, just for a change of scenery and to see what everyone else is up to.

And that's what makes the gay community a strong community. Knowledge, acceptance, and solidarity.

Wolf, unfortunately, seems incapable of this. Shame, shame, shame.


Blogger Charles Malik said...

An out friend told me that Wolf is the only place in Lebanon where he feels comfortable being out.

He says that guys at Acid and even Walimat Warde are all in the closet and are all uncomfortable with their, oh, let's say, habits. He says most guys are there to hook up, but claim they aren't gay.

He says that all the guys at Wolf are undeniably gay and don't have the hang-ups.

What's your perspective?

April 30, 2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop misleading the gay community you idiot! there's nothing wrong with this bar, or maybe you're trying to start your own?
Your blog should be removed!
Shame on you

May 01, 2006 1:47 PM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am sorry you feel that way...

Do you feel that there is nothing wrong with Wolf because the incident I speak of didn't happen, or because you agree with the policy? Because it most certainly did happen. I'm also sorry if you agree with Wolf's discriminatory policies. I feel that it shows bad judgment on your part. It is not I that is misleading the community, but Wolf, if it chooses only to accept some of us, "picking and choosing" who to define as gay.

And for the esteemed Lebanon Profile,

I can see why your friend would be more comfortable being out at Wolf than other places. I have a few hypotheses why Wolf is more openly gay:

1) Walimat Warde and Acid are both rather mixed, which could be one reason they are less inclined to be out. Wolf is rather exclusively gay, which can be reassuring.
2) The clientele of Wolf is, in general, a bit older than that of Acid or X-OM, and older people tend to be more comfortable being out. Over time, they have made peace with beaing gay. Also, they don't risk getting kicked out of the house by their parents.
3) This hypothesis is a bit more inchoate. Gay men at Wolf tend to be more stereotypically "masculine". As such, they have less to lose by being out. Flamboyantly gay men risk rejection by society not only because they're gay, but because they're "effeminate". A big, burly gay man won't be hollered at on the street; he could probably beat up the offender.

Finally, in general, there is still a lot of shame among gay men in Lebanon. Lebanese scoiety can be very oppressive, and it's easy to internalize the negative things said about us. It's also worsened by the fact that there's not a strong gay movement here to deflect it.

May 01, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger QArab said...

I am a big bear.. and believe me.. quite effeminate.. (and proud of both facts)

one can be both. If the bar managment has such a policy, that they are very mistaken.

The bear movement started as a reaction to the very fashion oriented shallow circuit gay club scene. It had nothing to do with feminine behavior. More with an ambiance that celebrates men "au naturel"...

All people have both man and women traits in them.. we let them out when needed. We should all be able to celebrate all the traits that make us the fabulous people that we are.

May 01, 2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger Al-Fil said...

Amen, Qarab!

May 01, 2006 5:45 PM  
Anonymous French Bear said...

Blah blah blah, tolerance in a happy world blah blah blah...

Who cares about that crap ?

When I go to gay bars, I wanna see gay people. So will you put the blame on bars who refuse to let girls come in because they want to keep a masculine atmosphere ?

That's the same here : when I go to a bear bar I wanna see bears and masculine guys, that's all.
So why the lecture on Wolf ?

I prefer masculine guys and dislike feminine ones, that's why it is the only place where I feel really confortable. And there are MANY people like me.

Freedom and liberty huh ? So please leave us alone and let us meet the type of guys we want to meet, and this type only.

December 22, 2006 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I frequent Wolf. I am a 48 yo bear man and appreciate that i can go and be around men like me and have a few drinks and pleasant conversation. I have been out for over 20 years and participated in gay civil rights movements, I never go to OM and Acid as i dont like getting attitude and looks from 20yo fashion queens when i try to open a conversation or buy a drink. These type of places make people like me feel odd and unwelcome,And i knonw i speak for many of my friends of my age. I dont like discrimination of any kind but also do appreciate a safe welcoming place with like minded people. I dont mind men of any feminity but do like being around a predominatly older gay crowd and those that admire them... I LOVE WOLF and Happy they are there

February 18, 2007 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF this discrimaination among gay people have happend in Norway the gay bar would be turned down. I never go to wolf for what to look at desperate old bold men hanging out to try to find someone younger in a desperate fight for love. Bullshit the whole bar. Alot of gay's in europe are travelling in groups and we dont go to Wolf because they discriminate other gay peopel. We will be almost 25 gay's going to lebanon for a one week trip but we dont go and support wolf for what so they can refuse gay people to get in. I hope they will take the wolf bar away from spratacus and I know that spartacus have got alot of complaints about this bar. if you are a bear or a sissy or what?? you still are gay you can turn it up and down but in the end we are all gay peopel who shall support oneanother and this is not helping what wolf is doing. We work for that all gay peopel shall feel equal and we shall take care of one another and have a open heart but this is not happening with Wolf they split the gay people and that is actually not nice. Its rude. So if not wolf take some changes I will sure write about wolf when I get back from lebanon I will write about my gay travel experience that I always to for Gay Times and I sure will write about Wolf and how they act. All people have the same value if you are a bold hairy bear or you are a gay sissy as long as people are happy in life that is the main thing............

Gay Europe

November 16, 2007 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well , we all human being , gay straight , bi , or feminine , we all sons of God , and we should accept others as they are , i am gay and i am proud to be , live and let other people lives. Lebanon always be the first in freedom , so we always be the first in middle east like EU , and why not , maybe oneday we go into EU and then we need to go into EU rules , so wake up people and lets be realistics , in every home in Lebanon we have one gay or one bi , why we should live and hide our sexuality. i wish u all the best in your life.xoxoxoxo

December 17, 2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a bar should primarily have a staff that brings out the image of the place.
For instance, Wolf should have "bear" workers to attract people who like bears.
However, I think it is foolish to deny people entry just because of their personality.

What if gay people were to be thrown out of straight places for the same reason?!

January 17, 2009 3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys, and gals, I am coming to Beirut in march. I am a hairy 36 year old - lean and muscular. I am not typically bear or neither am I a twink. I do find that in all theme clubs, certain groups of people have an ideology of what people should pass through the door - and thats only the opinion of the clientelle. I will admit, I, too have an opinion about what comes through the door - but are we still in a world were we forget that we fight and fight for gay equality. Maybe its time for introspective - I sense a fair few of us have become self indulgent and forgotten that we are gay first and foremost. fullstop. And when we ask for gay equality, are we also including george orwell quotes? As for wolf, I'll go somewhere where all people are able to. Thats the policy we have in London bars - bear or not, and will not line the pockets of bigots. We have obviously become a gay world insensed on sex, and not solitude. As for the man who encountered homophobia, It is not acceptable, nor is it the view taken by this bear.

February 18, 2009 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE BEST BAR IN lebanon ....

March 13, 2009 1:11 PM  
Blogger ANGEL said...

hello all
sorry for late comment but i would say that i like wolf bar because i felt fine there and i liked wht i see
it is right that i am 21 years old and that i like olders over 48 and like grey hair and bears olders and that i can find it up there at wolf but i really enjoyed
so let us go wherever we feel fine who like wolf keep going to wolf and who dont like so please go to another place where u feel more fine.

August 06, 2009 11:05 PM  
Anonymous ubermut said...

a bear bar is made for bears and ... for bear hunters! who said that bears only get hardons with other bears. blonds like brunettes and vice versa. and don't worry, if you get 2 "feminine" boys (such a stupid expression) go in, it won't spoil all the bar. feminity is not contagious. your bar will still be predominantly bear.
i don't want to go in all the "freedom" speech (which is valid by the way), but i just think that this is a stupid policy for a bar. if you stay that selective at the door, people will get bored by seeing the same faces over and over again.

October 27, 2009 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beirut needs a butch scene. I hate queens, rainbows, pride, etc. We need bars like the Eagle, the Faultline, The Edge, The Bullet, all the big muscle leather bars in LA, SF, NYC, etc. We need more of those in the middle east!

October 31, 2009 12:19 AM  
Blogger GiB said...

That's an insightful article indeed! just wanted to let you guys know about the new blog about gay life in Beirut, it's pretty cool check it out!!

April 19, 2010 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i came here searching for a decent pub i can go to for the first time, and me too am not really into feminime pple .
After reading all ur posts , i'll defenetly check wolf bar tonight or tomorow.
Thx all

May 12, 2012 7:09 AM  

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