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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gay in Nagoya? All hope not quite lost

名古屋 ゲイ

Sun Set Cafe, gay bar in Nagoya.
Sun Set Cafe, gay bar in Nagoya.
Oh no! You’re looking for a gay night out on the town in Nagoya and (gasp!) you can’t figure out what to do! There’s good news and bad news: The bad news is that there is almost nothing to speak of in the way of a gay scene in Nagoya, as compared to Tokyo or Osaka (or even lesser cities than Nagoya, for that matter). The good news? That there is almost nothing to be gay about in Nagoya. There are indeed a few, cozy places out there.

Gay bar King Diamond is in this building, Nagoya.
Entrance to the building with gay bar King Diamond, Sakae, Nagoya
Looking for a big gay dance club? Head for the shinkansen (bullet train) and get out of Nagoya. But if you are down for some low key lounging, there are some friendly faces and comfortable places waiting for you to drop by. Best if you can speak a bit of Japanese, but even if you can’t, speaking slowly with a nice smile gets you half way there.

Nagoya gay bar, King Diamond, in the Sakae district.
King Diamond entrance sign.
King Diamond is located in the Sakae district, generally considered the shopping and nightlife center of Nagoya. This gay bar is oriented towards the younger crowd (and their admirers), but in practice, there’s a healthy customer contingent running into their 40s. The bar opens at 9pm (except on Sundays, when they are closed) and rumbles on until 5am. 1,800 yen for your first drink and accompanying snack (2,800 for women), with successive drinks starting from 800 yen. Emphasis on the “successive,” as the crowd here is known to knock ‘em down. Perhaps they are drinking their gay-in-Nagoya sorrows away? We kid.

Bar staff at Nagoya gay bar, King Diamond, in the Sakae district, Naka ward.
Friendly King Diamond bar staff pose for a pic.
Another, somewhat more mixed crowd option, awaits you just a few blocks away at Sun Set Café (not “Sunset Café,” well, just because). The Sun Set-tles into a somewhat different vibe due to its mix of mostly gay men, their female friends and “fag hags.” Catty, catty! The lengthy bar makes for a degree of grandeur, but also makes it hard to chat people up. Expect service here to range between attentive and obsequious, which contrasts with King Diamond’s more “we’re cool buds that like you” approach to customer service.

Building housing the gay bar, Sun Set Cafe, Nagoya, Japan.
The building with Sun Set Cafe on the 3F
The Sun Set rises at 8pm and sets at 8am, but is closed on Mondays. 1,600 for the drink/snack initial set, but that rises to 2,800 for women (who need to be accompanied by a man to get in). The crowd is mostly 20s and 30s, but, hey, if you’re a foreigner, it generally doesn’t matter.

The door of Sun Set Cafe, a gay bar in the Sakae district of Nagoya, Japan.
Sun Set Cafe entrance
Don’t go to a gay bar too early here in Nagoya. Of greater concern than the faux pas is the fact that you will probably be bored, as things don’t really pick up until 11pm, or in the case of Sun Set, more like midnight.

Sun Set cafe gay bar in Nagoya, Japan - the bar.
The bar at Sun Set Cafe, Nagoya

Inside the Nagoya gay bar, Sun Set Cafe
Slinky interior, Sun Set Cafe, Sakae, Nagoya

See, as it turns out, Nagoya almost isn’t that bad after all.

King Diamond: 〒460-0008名古屋市中区栄4-13-10  Tel. 052 242 5077
Sun Set Café:     〒460-0008名古屋市中区栄4-5-18 Tel. 052 251 7880

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