I have a confession that most gay Yalies would never admit: I, Edgar Díaz-Machado, being of queer mind and body, love Gotham. Yes, I said it. I love Gotham.
For most of my time here at Yale, I avoided Gotham like the plague. I wasn’t 21 (although Gotham is actually 18+), I didn’t like dance music and I was perfectly content to dance around to Top 40 hits in a sweaty common room. Gross.
I had also heard from other guys that Gotham wasn’t a place fit for a gay Yalie. There were townies there! There were guys over 21 there! Both scary prospects for the gay Yalie who only knows the Co-op and the Bubble.
But I have since grown out of my initial naiveté. I turned 21 and handed my soul over to house and dance music. (Srsly: A remix isn’t good unless it’s at least 6 minutes long.) I now head happily down Crown Street, dodging Jersey Shore-esque breeders, to the Promised Land of avant-garde drag queens, twirling twinks, hypnotizing lights and booming bass.
From the outside, Gotham (full name: Gotham Citi Café) isn’t much to look at. It also appears to be deceptively small, but when Saturday nights roll around, the staff puts up a rainbow flag so New Haven’s clubbers know what the deal is.
Though there’s a bar on the first floor, keep going up to the second — that’s where all the action happens. Up here is the gem in Gotham’s crown: its dance floor. With a sound and light system that easily makes for the best gay clubbing in Connecticut, Gotham offers up a bit of NYC nightlife just blocks from Yale. People literally drive in from all across Connecticut to go to Gotham-crazy.
The dance floor is where you can really lose yourself and maybe even forget that the inside of the club could use a face-lift. It’s even enough to take your mind off the weirdly wood-paneled floors.
If you’re like me and you like dance music, you’ll love the DJ sets at Gotham. Sure, you’ll have your fair share of remixed Top 40, but you’ll also get deeper tracks that appeal to those of us who have learned to appreciate the buildup of an eight-minute-long remix of a dance song from the early ’90s. The music has never let me down and, I’ll be honest, I’m a homo of discriminating musical taste.
As 2 a.m. quickly approaches, Gotham’s patrons are far from ready to go home. So even though the dance floor is cleared, guests are simply guided down to the basement where Gotham holds its afterhours. There’s still a dance floor, but the feel is definitely grittier than the rest of the night’s. The drunken haze, the thumping bass and the dim lighting are perfect ingredients for what I like to call “Dick O’Clock” — that time when you’re all partied out and, basically, just want to find a guy to take home.
Finally, at a hazy 4 a.m., the last dancer tires, the last dance-floor makeout ends and Gotham shuts down — something no other bar or club in New Haven can rival.
Gotham’s gay night isn’t something to be fear, my fellow queer Yalies! The men, the lights and the music all give you something you’re not going to find anywhere in New Haven. And let’s face it, you’re not going to stick to common room parties for the rest of your life.