I’m not used to Sydney gay bars having so many people attending them. In the midst of “Sydney WorldPride”, in some ways, I’m kinda longing for the “good old days” when it was just people sitting by themselves looking down at their mobile phones. Of course, I’m joking.
As I walked along Oxford Street last night, there was a moment when I looked around and thought it kinda felt like Oxford Street in the 90s all over again. The crowd was overwhelmingly “gay”. That felt good.
Entering a few bars, however, I felt a little overwhelmed by the crowds.
“This is the only place I could find that wasn’t too crowded”, I told a friend as we met up for a late afternoon drink at “Universal Bar”, formerly known as “The Midnight Shift”.
Looking around the new bar, I reminisced about the “good old days” when the place had pool tables and a giant fish tank. I explained to my friend that the tank was there because goldfish have a memory span of only five minutes. It was a nostalgic moment as I remembered the lively bar scene on Oxford Street.
My friend confided in me that she was experiencing some Sydney WorldPride “fatigue” after attending numerous events. Although she had tickets to several more, she intended to give them away to friends. “I just need a break after a couple of weeks,” she explained.
I could relate to her sentiment. After enduring three years of COVID and a few years prior to that witnessing the decline of gay bars, it’s almost overwhelming to witness such a surge of LGBTQIA+ activity in Sydney. Seeing so many people on the scene is both exciting and unfamiliar.
This week, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying attending the 5 pm showcase hosted by my friend. The showcase has featured some amazing performers from the festival program.
Looking ahead, I’m eagerly anticipating the walk on Sunday across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where an estimated 50,000 people will proudly wear their rainbow colours. It’s going to be a fantastic celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride!
After that, like Christmas decorations, I assume the rainbow flags will come down, and we’ll go back to lots of solitary people sitting in bars looking down at their mobile phones. I hope not.