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The Bent Guide: Gay & Lesbian Amsterdam

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The Bent Guide: Gay & Lesbian Amsterdam

The Bent Guide - Gay & Lesbian Amsterdam

(scanned cover) property of Andrew Collins

The Bottom Line

For an honest, frank, and at times bitingly funny - and salacious - understanding of the gay scene in one of the world's great queer capitals, Amsterdam, The Bent Guide more than delivers the goods. This affordable paperback promises to cover all the "human urges: drink, eat, shop, dance, fuck, sleep..." Indeed, readers are told of every cool, quirky, cruisy, and fun gay-popular establishment in the city, and descriptions are rich and comprehensive. You might want to pair this with a good mainstream guide (i.e., TimeOut Amsterdam), as this is solely a gay perspective, but as such, it's an outstanding resource.

Pros

  • Comprehensive, personable reviews with lots of humor and edge
  • Doesn't shy away from describing where to get laid - this is Amsterdam, after all!
  • Comprehensive in serving needs of all types - gays, lesbians, transgender, ethnic
  • Nice lists of resources, health/fitness, and calendar of events
  • Excellent, attractive, and detailed maps

Cons

  • It's a purely a gay guide, meaning there's relatively little on mainstream sightseeing
  • Some of those cruising and sex listings are pretty brazen - be prepared to blush if you're timid

Description

  • The book is 134 pages and costs $13.95 (9.95 euros, or 7.95 GBP).
  • It's available online at Amazon and in many bookstores with GLBT sections. ISBN is 978-90-808851-2-7.
  • The book is written by Darren Reynoldson and illustrated by Eddie Varekamp.

Guide Review - The Bent Guide: Gay & Lesbian Amsterdam

As a matter of disclosure, back in 1997 I spent two months in Amsterdam writing my own now out-of-print Fodor's Gay Guide to Amsterdam. It's a relatively easy city to get around - compact, well-signed, and populated by a generally friendly and multilingual citizenry. On the other hand, an informative and authoritative gay guidebook is incredibly useful here, given that nightlife revolves heavily around weekly or occasional events, and that getting beyond the obvious and touristy haunts requires the insights of someone truly familiar with the city.

The The Bent Guide to Amsterdam was written by Australian transplant Darren Reynoldson, who has lived in Amsterdam for some time, and it also relies heavily on input from local queer residents, including staffers at Pink Point, the city's gay and lesbian info booth. As such, the book is researched carefully, packed with insider tips and insights, and intelligently arranged.

There's an extensive chapter on nightlife, including everything from cozy brown cafes to S&M-intensive dance clubs to one-off weekly underground parties (i.e., De Trut - a Sunday-night must). Sections on dining and shopping aren't extensive, but they give a nice round-up of the main gay hangouts and describe the food and goods thoroughly. The unapologetically frank chapter entitled FUCK provides the giddy lowdown on sex parties, women's leather gatherings, hustlers, cruisy areas, sex shops, and saunas - it's simply indispensable as this subject goes. The Lodging chapter is a bit scant, as are its reviews, but there's enough here to find several gay-friendly options that should fit your needs. And then there's a slew of useful resources at the end, rounding things out.

The reliability of the info and the clarity of presentation make it the best gay guide out there on Amsterdam, and it's nicely priced, too.

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