In a respectful and
tolerant city like Amsterdam, many clubs and bars are open to an eclectic mixed
crowd, making this place in Europe the preferred destination for many gay men
and women. There are few “lesbian bars” in town and probably the Saarein is the
one you cannot miss.
Ok, let me go straight to the point: if we lived in a utopian world,
I would have plenty of lesbian girlfriends and we would all love and support
each other, holding hands and laughing at all the stupid, funny things that
this astounding, idealistic dimension would offer. But we live on earth, this
big ball lost in the universe, where many other little universes coexist, some
orbiting around one another, some just disastrously colliding.
Take the second example in consideration when it’s about the
relationship between gay men and lesbian women. Ideas can be shared, of course,
and the habitants these two universes are ready to get together and fight for a
right cause when needed, but if I had to describe the whole thing as if I was
speaking to my 10 year old nephew, I would approximately say that this
cohabitation is quite similar to the one of a cat and a dog: different body
languages, different needs, different ways of showing affection, different
everything, but in the end of the day, the little lesbian feline likes to cosy
up next to the big gay fellow hound.
So, if you are a gay man and you want to enjoy a beer with your
friend (who also happens to be a gay man) in the
Café Saarein (www.saarein.com) don’t be surprised if
the lady at the door will stop you both and will kindly intimidate you with a “
wait there! do you know what’s this place
all about?” – read with strong Dutch accent.
I don’t blame this philosophy, as harsh and rude as it may sound at
first: Amsterdam is a gay capital, sure, but
gay should stand for GLBT and that L is often neglected. The
lesbian scene in Amsterdam is a bit more hidden, less visible and its members
area much more conscious of the fact that flaunting your identity with a
handful of glitter doesn’t lead you anywhere. Then, if I want to go to the
Saarein, I know I have to go there accompanied by a woman. That’s what this
place is all about and I profoundly respect that.
The bar is a traditional “
kroegen” situated in the heart of the Jordaan, arranged on a ground floor,
a mezzanine and a little basement that works as a smoking room, provided with a
pool table and several seatings. Opened in the early 20s, it was in 1978 – as
reported on the website – that a group of women took over the management of the
bar and gave it the name it bears nowadays, even though the actual vocation is
to guarantee a spot where “
people can gather and enjoy some good music and some delightful drinks.
If you follow the rules, which are simple and legitimate, you will
have a great time in the Saarein and, who knows, you will eventually find that
idealistic world I was blabbing about earlier. And I honesty think I did.
A similar vocation is shared by the newly opened
Bordò, in Nieuwe Nieuwestraat 20. I
haven’t had the chance to visit it yet, but I will surely pop by soon and write
a few words about it.
Another “straight venue” that is also a favorite spot for many gay
women is the
in the Warmostraat.