Happy Hour at Home: Welcome To The Gay Club

Be our guest for Happy Hour at Home, a small series about the joys of lesbian socializing from home, because let’s be honest with ourselves — we’re going to be here for a while.

I confess that I wasn’t entirely sure what this series would be until I started writing it (story of my life!), but it essentially has become: My girlfriend and I did this weird, fun thing during quarantine and idk maybe you could try some variation of it if you want a distraction or an activity or just a small crumb of that thing that I think a lot of us are longing for. The little everyday feelings that we probably took for granted. Like running into a friend unexpectedly while doing errands. Or striking up conversation with a stranger while waiting in line for something dumb. Or overhearing gay drama at the coffee shop. Whatever that feeling is that those outside-the-home experiences gave me, I miss it.

After turning our apartment into a tea parlor, a fancy restaurant, a spa, and a beach, it was only a matter of time before my girlfriend and I decided to make a fake gay club. Before, we kept making and changing plans to go out dancing at one of the queer spots in Vegas. Now we’re extra-regretting that it never happened. So we turned the apartment into Club Jane’s (our fake beachside bar was called Sailor Jane’s, and I don’t know who Jane is, but apparently she’s a very busy lesbian entrepreneur in the realm of our quarantine fantasies) and we had so much fun getting sweaty and silly that it’s now a weekly tradition.


  • No bathroom lines.
  • I can actually hear myself talking.
  • I control the music.
  • Minimal drama.


  • No bathroom lines. Even this is a form of human interaction that I now miss. Nothing bonds strangers faster than the feeling of nearly peeing your pants.
  • I can actually hear myself talking. WHO WANTS TO HEAR THEMSELVES TALKING —especially after shots of cheap liquor?
  • I control the music. This is too much pressure.
  • Minimal drama. I want to see at least one couple fight and at least one messy newly single person at the club. I almost started drama with the dog just for that rush.

To set the mood, I found a looped video of a disco ball changing colors on YouTube. Sometimes my past theater kid self REALLY COMES THROUGH, but especially in this current moment in time, so I don’t think my girlfriend was at all surprised at how readily I agreed to pretend to be a dyke bartender and how much I then committed to the bit. She did not seem as thrilled when I charged her $10 for the “drink special” (two-for-one vodka well drinks), but baby, welcome to Club Jane’s.

I miss the rare fucking times of being in a room full of entirely queer people. Dancing and shouting together. Even the messy nights, the crying nights. So many gay clubs and bars already struggled to stay afloat before this, and I know that we’re likely going to return to a world with fewer of them. In the grand scheme of things there are obviously bigger losses to worry about, but it still matters.

The last time I danced outside of home was on Valentine’s Day in Orlando. We came back to our hotel, thinking we would quietly close out the night. Instead, we stumbled upon a whole ass dance party in the hotel lobby bar. We weren’t sure if it was an invite-only situation, but by then, everyone had enough drinks in them not to care about us crashing. So we joined in, and it was incredible. AN IMPROMPTU DANCE PARTY WITH STRANGERS IN FLORIDA!!!! Experiences like that, as silly and inconsequential as they are, are so difficult to even conceive of right now. I wish I’d savored it more.

At Club Jane’s, we danced to Robyn, Abba, Missy Elliot, and a few wildcards like the Vanderpump Rules theme song and also my favorite song from the My Best Friend’s Wedding soundtrack (“Tell Him” by the Exciters). In a complete departure from the reality of a gay club where it seems like the same 15 songs play over and over, I have decided that one of the rules for Club Jane’s is no song repeats week-to-week. Every week, I’m going to make a fresh playlist. Yes, this is probably indicative of my overall need for control and variety in one very small aspect of life right now (“lol”). I also already have my outfits planned for the next three fake club nights, so you know, I’m doing great!

Perhaps the most perfectly imitated portion of the night (other than my girlfriend spilling an entire drink on the floor because she was dancing too hard to Robyn) was the end of it — the part that normally takes place at home anyway. Tired and sweaty and drunk, we shoveled leftovers (a dilapidated shepherd’s pie) into our mouths on the couch while watching the important work of cinema Mamma Mia!.

Here was week one’s playlist at Club Jane’s, but I highly recommend that you make your own to fit the particular vibe of your gay club. The vibe at Club Jane’s is a little chaotic (“Dancing Queen” into “Gossip Folks”… my mind), but I don’t expect that to change.


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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 808 articles for us.


  1. I low key switched my running music to club music.
    Ok, maybe let me rephrase that:
    Home workout: Hot n sweaty beachside hip hop pride party
    Running: Thumping 3 am gay club techno
    Doing the dishes and cooking while dancing: This Playlist

  2. my favorite part of this week’s gay club night was how wildly hungover i was the next day – truly some familiar drinking regrets after a night out at the gay club

    • If anyone’s looking for a virtual dance party for queer women, trans and non-binary people, I throw one with my gf every other Saturday night from 9pm (GMT)! We stream on Twitch and you can also party with other queers in our Zoom room. Follow us on IG at @galpals_club or tune in on our website galpals.club for more details :)

  3. ok so my wife and I did this tonight and it was SO FUN, omg thank you Kayla
    I was the sassy bartender, she was the cute out-of-towner
    Our cat was the random dude almost passed out in a booth in the corner because it’s late and no one knows what’s going on
    We put on the TV disco ball, played the playlist, wore cute outfits, danced, drank, laughed, and it was great. A+

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