When Bert & Ian started Men of the North in late 2000, it was in response to a gap they saw in the emerging Belfast gay scene, a need for a space where men, who felt that the mainstream scene held nothing for them, could meet and socialize. So, in the dimly-lit upstairs bar of White’s Tavern they held the first night of a club which would go on to have 16 years of amazing success.
From bar nights to club nights, pub quizzes to bus tours, fetish nights, strippers (both professional and amateur), weekend-long themed events (both Bear and Leather), live entertainment from local, national, and international acts, and much, much more, MOTN sought to provide a little something for everyone who felt out of place in the other gay venues.
Whilst the popular perception was always that MOTN was a bear club, it simply wasn’t the case. MOTN was initially aimed at the over-25’s, as that was where the gap on the scene appeared to lie, however, that age restriction was removed quite early on, as it became clear that there were plenty of younger guys who felt that they didn’t fit in on the dancefloors of the other gay bars/clubs.
In Summer 2016, MOTN held its ever-popular Belfast Bear Weekend – it would be our 15th bear themed weekend and our final event.
Put simply – you don’t need us anymore. A changing gay scene has meant more inclusion. You have more clubs for music, you have more bars to socialize in, you have social nights for mingling, and you have dating apps. We’ve had a good run and there may come a time when we’re needed again, but until then we’re packing away our lights, folding up our shimmery gold curtain and closing our doors.
We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has ever served on the committee, everyone who has ever volunteered at our events, the staff, managers and owners of all the places we called home, the DJ’s and live acts that performed at our events, the businesses that sponsored events or donated prizes, and everyone who has ever given their time, energy, skills or ideas to make MOTN what it was – the longest-running men-only night in all of Northern Ireland.
Most of all, we’d like to thank each and every one of you who came along and supported any of our events over the past 16 years. It was always about you, and making sure you had a great night out.
Our resident DJ, Ryan rounded out his sets with a song that captured the spirit of what Bert had always wanted MOTN to be, and so we’d like to say those words once again, one last time:
Thank you for being a friend.
-The MOTN Committee
Unfortunately, due to being unable to secure a venue, there will be no MOTN event over the Christmas period. We would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, there will be no MOTN in October. We’ll have details of our next night soon.