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Gay bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs are centred on Old Compton Street.
Other cities in the UK also have districts or streets with a concentration of gay bars, like for example Stanley Street Quarter in Liverpool, Canal Street in Manchester and the Birmingham Gay Village. After World War II, the Amsterdam city government acted rather pragmatic and tolerated the existence of gay bars.
The first gay bar in Britain in the modern sense was The Cave of the Golden Calf, established as a night club in London.
It opened in an underground location at 9 Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, in 1912 and became a haunt for the wealthy, aristocratic and bohemian.
After homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, many gay bars opened in West Berlin, resulting in a lively gay scene.
The Stonewall Inn in New York City was the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which have come to symbolize the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States. A gay bar is a drinking establishment that caters to an exclusively or predominantly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clientele; the term gay is used as a broadly inclusive concept for LGBT and queer communities.
Gay bars once served as the centre of gay culture and were one of the few places people with same-sex orientations and gender-variant identities could openly socialize.
Other streets where there are still concentrations of gay bars are Zeedijk, Amstel and Warmoesstraat, the latter being the center of the Amsterdam leather scene, where the first leather bar already opened around 1955.
Because of the high prevalence of homophobia in Russia, patrons of gay bars there often have had to be on the alert for bullying and attacks.