Friday, March 14, 2014

Dublin: Drinkin' and Duckin' inside from the Damp

My Certificate!
"Black pool" or "Silt-pit" - an appropriate Irish translation for of this dark, medieval city. Despite the weather - Ireland has loads of exciting history from the great authors (& the most famous gay one, Oscar Wilde) to the many failed fights for independence. I look to the fighting Irish to write more great history – if we can just do something about the somber, damp climate. Of course, compared to New York or Washington (and really anywhere from my homeland, the Midwest) it's warmer in the winter; the sea keeps Dublin above freezing, though barely breaking 70 in the summer. Never fear – its always warm, friendly and fun in the pubs – and the gay scene competes with most medium-sized cities!

Adding to the fun, the city is full of latinos – from Brazilians to Spaniards to Mexicans – looking to learn English. Maybe it’s similar to learning Spanish in Andalucía; if you can understand Irish-English, you can understand it all! Each told me they miss the sunny & warm climates at home - but this usually = poor economic conditions. Ireland continues to turn around economically - and remains flexible with work and study visa programs; the Irish are generally welcoming to immigrants.

View from the top of the Guinness Storehouse!
What's to do?

Tourist sites abound – but you can’t go wrong to do a Free Tour – and swing by the major sites, at least. The Guinness Storehouse is obligatory of course, you can’t come all the way to Dublin without feeling the foam tickle your upper lip from this key export – and for the commercialized “museum” it does just fine, providing you with adequate Guinness – and the only major viewpoint to see entire city! Visit an hour or so before sunset so you can make your way to the top for a pint & perfect end to the evening.

Hit up the pubs!

Start your evening with drinks at the Front Lounge – the front part is for lesbians – the back-door states "Back Lounge" for the gay boys but it’s the same, open-floor broad bar-space. Quite a happening place – and especially the night I arrived, when England-Ireland just competed in Rugby (Ireland lost but the mood was not somber!). Lesbians were out in force – joined by dozens of gay boys without a clue why they were outnumbered.
Brazilians abound in Ireland!

After some pints – or just regular cocktails (yes, they exist here too) – head to the "linchpin of Ireland LGBT life," The George for an incredible night of dancing and consorting with gays of all stripes! The walkways, stages & bars seem to never end. On Thursdays & Fridays (especially) you can also hit up The Dragon, another bar & club – just a short walk further south on S George Street. Some told me (online) Brazilians had overtaken the club, but I'm not sure why this is a problem:  hot Brazilian, friendly, fun guys who want to learn English; yes please! Plus you get to see them all excited when the DJ caters to the crowd and plays a few Brazilian songs, before returning to tried and true hit pop singles.

Afterwards, late-night food options abound – but directly across from The George is Charlie’s (four) Malaysian & Chinese Cafe (apparently the 4th in Dublin!). Get your black-bean chicken with "chips" (or just rice). If you prefer a burger to soak up the alcohol, Rick's is also on the corner. I didn’t go to Dublin for the cuisine – but the greasy stuff in this city is best for late night food!

Everyone has to go at least once!
During the week you can drop by C. U. Next Tuesday, a mixed dance party – it appears everyone’s a little bit gay in Dublin (the guys I met seemed a bit flexible). Still, this is definitely not an all-gay party – it's for young post-modern gays with girlfriends and “straight” or maybe even really straight guy friends. You can sign up online (look for the latest Facebook event) – and arrive before 12:30 if you want to avoid cover.

And if you miss the weekend in Dublin, never fear, you can always drink & dance until 4 am at Copper Face Jack’sbut be careful! This infamous bar & disco is one of the most profitable bars in the world - recording nearly 7 million in profits last year!

Legend in the making

Proud to be on Team Panti!
One last perfect pub making waves internationally – is Panti Bar run by new gay-icon Miss Panti Bliss. With popcorn "tea-dance" Sunday, 80s-night Thursday and drag nights with Queen Panti Bliss herself (Rory O'Neill), you can never go wrong. This friendly neighborhood bar is in the news of late because Panti accused Ireland's anti-marriage equality groups of homophobia ("well duh!" you say?). After the on-air comments were made, defamation lawsuits were filed against the public TV station. Consequently, claiming they had no other choice, the public station ended up paying a settlement of 85,000 to homophobic, anti-equality Iona Foundation and Irish Times columnist John Waters.

In response, Panti spoke out eloquently about being gay, garnering international acclaim (and half a million web hits) and has fully expanded and focused attention on LGBT rights in Dublin. The Dublin community (gay & straight) has build up a social media campaign that has taken off around the country and world - and made it back to the TV station. On Twitter and around town #TeamPanti is often seen in restaurants and venues gay & straight. Even the Pet Shop Boys are joining the cause, including her incredible speech in their most recent CD.

Kick back with a Guinness and take in this incredible speech!

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