Wherever you are, you’re never (too) far from a gay bar. So tune in every week for the inside track on why your local queer venue loves you, and why you should love it right back, as we get the low-down from the people who know best – the owners, the barmen, the DJs and the fabulous performers.

Lellebel is the home of drag in Amsterdam. It’s the city’s oldest drag venue, opening it’s doors back in 1997 right in the city centre. Many of the country’s finest queens began their careers right here and this year Lellebel cleberates its 20th anniversary.

Every weekend you’ll find different drag performers on stage, theme nights and other events 7 days a week the whole year round in a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. Drag doyenne Tiffanie Deelight, who’s worked at the bar for four years, spills the tea on what keeps locals coming back for more…

What five words would you use to sum up Lellebel?
Different, Intimate, Friendly, Drag and Party time!

What’s the crowd like? 
Our guest are very diverse and varied: transgenders, gay, drag queens, straight people and a lot of tourists.

Why do people love your venue and what makes it unique?
People love our bar because of the friendly atmosphere and the friendly drag queens behind the bar. We love to make every night count and are always available for a chat with our guests. We do everything possible to keep people entertained and coming back for more! It’s that personal touch.

What is a typical night like?
Fun, fun and fun — every night is a party here. We like to play music request too and it seems like almost every night we get bachelor groups in here for a nice night out. We also kind of act like an information centre where visitors can ask questions about gay life in Amsterdam and we also provide a lot of information to trans folk and drag queens just starting out on their careers. 

What’s the strangest thing that’s happened at the venue?
We get straight guys stripping off right at the bar because they get so into the vibe!

Gay venues are closing down all the time– what do you think the gay scene needs to do to keep thriving?
I think gay venues only can survive if they know how to entertain guests well and for us that comes from the events we plan. If we don’t plan events in our bar the people stay at home so you need to provide entertainment and make the events successful.

Gay Pride is a good example of gay venues working together and making a success of this week. If we do a good job of this kind of events you get a lot of new customers and that is good thing for the gay venues.  

Describe your own ideal night out: 
My best nights out are in places where I can have fun. A good atmosphere and lovely people are important for me to have a great time out.

What events have you got coming up in the next few weeks/months? 
Every Tuesday we do a karaoke night, and every Friday and Saturday we give drag shows in our bar. Every sunday we have a drag bingo with nice prizes.

For more from the Scene and Heard series, click here. If you and your venue would like to be featured please contact [email protected]

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