It's one of
I suppose it’s a little bit like Love Muscle if I had to
compare it to a club in
I met up with Thierry Coppens, the man behind La Demence and asked him why people travel so far and wide to come to La Demence and what has made it such an infamous club. He replied by saying "It's more than 12 years now since I organized the first La Demence party; at that period they were something revolutionary for Belgium, as it was the first time a gay party was organized in a huge straight club; at that time, the only place gays could go to, were small gay bars and clubs, that were open almost every day of the week, always proposing the same thing."
He continued: "The La
Demence parties on the other hand, were only once in a while, making it a big
happening with a theme night, a special decoration, drag queens, gogo dancers,
guest DJ's... Nowadays, this has become so common, but at that time we were the
only ones in the region doing it, and so people from
Thierry went on to tell me that La Demence actually was the first club to have gogo's, drag queens and strippers, so I asked him how it came about. He told me "The drag queens, which had never be seen before at that time, simply started to appear at our crazy parties without being contacted at all. The gogo's and strippers were the ingredient needed to add the "sexual" touch to the parties, let's say the essential ingredient."
The first La Demence
party ever held was on the 26th of November back in 1989 in
Deerlijk, but because of the enormous popularity they needed to move to a
bigger venue. Several years later and after changing venues numerous times
Thierry found it difficult to find a venue that was large enough and would host
the type of party that is La Demence. It was on New Year's Day of '92 that the
first La Demence party took place again and this time in central
Ten years on since then
they are still located in the same club but there have been many changes. One
of the biggest was when Thierry actually bought the venue. With a club that is
only open once a month I asked why he did it and what else he does with it? He
had this to say "First I started to rent the venue for each single night I was organising
a La Demence party. After some years, I bought the lease together with a
business partner and we started "Fuse", a straight techno club
on Saturdays, which is also very infamous in the music scene in
He continued: "The venue has changed a million times since the first time we set foot in it. We started out with one level, one dance floor and one sound system. Now we have three levels, with two dance floors with separate sound systems, a chill out room, 4 bars, 3 darkrooms, a video-room and a shop, which all makes it the perfect playground for all the big boys."
The dark rooms
really add something extra to the club; I asked if it was common for clubs to
have these in
It's clear that the dark rooms add a big "sexual" element to
the parties, which is more important to some of the boys than to others: some
visitors stay all night long in the dark rooms, others don't quit the dance floor.
Each of the three floors has a different style of music: techno and
trance, house and garage, and kitsch. Doors open at until about or
the next day, plus there's an alcohol license all night and morning. The
entrance fee is low in comparison to
For more information, visit their website www.LaDemence.com
Brussels Gay Scene, Belgium
With the creation of the direct Eurostar link between
The heart of Brussels and the place to start getting to know the city is the Grand Place. This historic square has been the focal point of the city's social and civic life for centuries and hosts various different markets. Most of the gay bars and clubs are with-in walking distance of the square. Ask for the street called rue du Marché au Charbon and look out for the rainbow flags in the windows. Most of the venues stock the free gay map/guide, which lists every association, nightclub, clothing store, sauna, or sex shop you could possibly need during your stay.
Tel Quels (81 rue du Marché au Charbon) is a great venue for information, the building also houses the International Lesbian & Gay Association (tel. 502 24 71), go here first to get the low-down on gay Brussels. It's less male-dominated than most other bars and the sexy bartenders will be happy to tell you which places fit your wants: young, hardcore, leather or whatever.
One of the best venues to get started in is Le Belgica (32 rue du Marché au Charbon). Its one of the trendiest and most popular gay bars in Brussels beating out house music to the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd inside, but don't go out in Brussels too early because I found things don't get going till around 11pm.
You'll find a lot of the gay bars in Brussels aren't particularly keen on allowing girls in, liking to keep a predominantly male clientele, (not that lesbians cause trouble or anything!). However two popular lesbian bars are L'Archange (9 rue Borgval) and Sapho (1 rue St Géry).
Sleaze-wise check out Le Duquesnoy (12 rue Duquesnoy) and The Slave (7 Plattesteen). There's hardcore S&M porno on the TV's, leather-clad barmen and some tasty leather daddies lurking around in the dark rooms ready to gobble you up. If your really into this scene then you may want to travel to Antwerp, its just over an hour away and is where you'll find a venue called Boots (Van Aerdstraat 22) which is said to be Belgium's most famous leather bar and one of the best known in Europe.
Chez Maman (7 rue des Grandes Carnes) is a small, classy-looking bar famous for its drag shows on Fridays and Saturdays. The drag queens perform standing on the bar tops, it's amazing to just watch them parade up and down in their high heels with-out falling off.
Het Rijk der Zinnen (14 rue des Pierres) is the type of venue where you end up when everywhere else is closed and you're still trying to get laid. The English translation to its name is "the Empire of the Senses" which is rather over the top for this bar as it's quite rough and tumble inside.
Parc de Bruxelles is the main outdoor venue whatever the day, notably along the central promenade and around the ponds at each end. But as ever, take care in the open air.
Clubs in Brussels aren't huge like in London. The best is probably Strong (17 rue Poinçon) which has a good atmosphere and harder house music. The other cheaper (free entry) club I'd recommend is Why Not (7 rue des Riches-Claires), smaller and certainly less stylish than Strong, with a tiny dance floor and more commercial sounds.
One of the most renowned and largest gay club-nights in
The club has three levels; two main dance floors play techno, trance, house and garage plus there's a smaller cheesy dance floor on the middle level which is also where boys dance around bullock naked on the bar tops. The whole club has a very cruzy, sexual element to it; this is encouraged not only by all the strippers and gogo boys but also the three large dark rooms. The club stays open till noon the next day and is licensed to sell alcohol throughout, so prepare to get totally twatted if you out for a long night. Check out the web site www.LaDemence.com for the next party dates.
Ibis - off Grand Place - A cheap and cheerful hotel in the hart of the city centre near the gay scene.
Ibis - Centre Gare du Midi - A very cheap hotel near the Eurostar train station and gay club La Demence.