During the last year or so, almost all the bars and clubs that once made Amsterdam's Reguliersdwarsstraat one of the most famous gay streets in the world have closed. Only one bar, Taboo, survived and my friends and I often found ourselves wondering where everybody had gone. Our group was one of the few surviving groups of people that were still going out to party and have a drink, but many people, especially from the younger generation seemed to have disappeared from the scene. We often blamed the Internet and the ease of getting sex-hook-ups on-line for the lack of younger gays in the bar.
The reason for the closure of all the bars was mis-management by the owner which lead to problems with the brewers, the owner's suicide in June of last year and the bankruptcy of his estate. The trustees are now slowly solving all the financial problems and we expect that most bars will re-open between now and this summer. Last Thursday, Soho was the first bar to re-open. Our group went on Friday and our first impression of the new Soho is good. They have cut away a piece of the actual bar and some other unnecessary furniture, and the bar looks and feels bigger now. And, surprisingly, the young crowd is back! There were many young guys out and about yesterday (some as young as 16 or 17), all looking so insecure and vulnerable in their fashionable clothes and hairstyles. While most of us would like to be young again, I certainly don't miss the insecurity and vulnerability of that age group. But anyway it is nice that The Boys Are Back.