The Island’s Alternative Hubs

November 12, 2016 Namhar Hernanto

If you thought the closest you could get to the music in Baz Luhrmann films like “Moulin Rouge” was your iPod cranked up full blast or your Netflix stream, you will want to head to the Seminyak’s Dhyanapura Street to catch the powerful, intimate, and innovative ‘real’ shows.

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We don’t have that many gay bars here in Bali, but the ones we do have, offer something for everyone. From parties to drag shows, cocktails to discos, the ‘gay block’ down the Dhyanapura street provides ample opportunity for everyone to just let their hair down and party every night of the week. That’s right, no matter the season, the party on this part of Seminyak seems undeterred. The variety of music should suit most tastes, with resident DJs rounding out the hedonistic offerings especially during the weekend when the bars are seriously crammed with revellers.

Inside the dim Dhyanapura bar-clubs such as Mixwell, Bali Joe, and Bottoms Up, the electric hum of pre-show anticipation is swiftly replaced by the stirring sounds of house tunes. And as the multicolour spotlights slice through the dimness and aimed at the stage, danc-ing patrons start to take their seats – and all eyes are glued to the empty stage. The excitement rises when the ‘star’ of the show appears on the stage…who would’ve thought of seeing Nicky Minaj, Lady Gaga, and Pink in Bali?

alternative-venues-1bwWell, it’s not really Nicky Minaj et al in persons, but the men impersonating the music stars normally do a splendid job dancing and lip-syncing the divas’ hit numbers. Ranks of other Bali’s top transgender lovelies will also come to the stage to perform the Moulin Rouge’s version of “Lady Marmalade”. These performers always stun the audience by descending from the stage to sing and dance with them.

Anyway, Dhyanapura has been an institution for more than a decade, and remains the island’s gayest area. With that being said, Dhyanapura’s gay bars have also now become some of the favourite spots for straight people (men and women) looking for entertain-ment and a fun night out. The bars are full of friendly folks, and hip without taking themselves seriously. In fact, a bride-to-be can throw her bachelorette party in any of the three bars, and the resident drag queens will allow her to steal the show.

The good thing about the gay bars here is they don’t blast their diva ballads so loud that an honest man can’t tell if he’s being sexually objectified or given the evil eye for some fashion faux pas. These bars embrace patrons of all sexual preferences.

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