Ever Lovin’ Adelaide

“If you’re there on a Wednesday night, there won’t be any gay bars to go to”, a friend who lives in Sydney, but who grew up in Adelaide, recently told me. He was bemoaning the lack of a gay scene in his hometown, and so I did an online check for him late in the afternoon. Yep, he was right.

“Mars Bar is still the only real Gay bar and only open Fri/Sat nights, The Mary’s Poppin one seems to be for trendoids of both sexes and also only on certain nights.”, he wrote back in response.

Such a contrast, I thought, to the late 1980s when I lived in Renmark and would travel regularly to Adelaide for a bit of “gay life”. There were at least two or three bars operating most nights of the week as I recall.

Twenty five years later I was in Adelaide for work, and after a long hard day, I was more interested in grabbing a bite to eat, and then heading back to my hotel room to watch television, and get a good night’s sleep. Adelaide has changed. Or maybe it’s me?


  • I met my first gay aborigine in a bar in Adelaide. It was somewhere off Colonel Light Square. We tried to go to Mars Bar, but it was very hidden and we could not find it. Circa 1983.


  • Its both, of course, James. The city and ourselves.

    We’ve aged and we’ve changed and out cities are different too. Sydney’s gay ‘scene’ is so different from the 1980s; just look around and remember Oxford Street.


    • Yes indeed Victor. I was being a little obtuse. Really significant changes. Not just being nostalgic, I have a fondness for the time when you could go to a bar, and not everyone was looking at their phone. Phones are the new cigarettes, I guess, where you have “something to do”, but even so…


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