Whereas gay clubs like Neighbours and R-Place have been infiltrated by heteros in recent years, the Cuff still retains a predominately gay male crowd. Maybe it's the sex shop full of cock rings and flogs. Or the portrait of a lion having sex with a dude on the wall. Or the fact that ladies are quarantined to a single unisex bathroom. Whatever the reason, vaginas are few and far between at the Cuff.
But that doesn't mean the crowd lacks variety, as evidenced by Saturday night's crowd. Shirtless men seemingly oblivious to the cold stood out front conversing and smoking cigarettes. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence posed for photographs with patrons. The Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf held one of their social gatherings in the back corner and offered to teach sign language to interested parties. Out on the dance floor, more shirtless men were making out to the sounds of, oddly enough, Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping."
The adult store is probably the bar's most unique feature. Novices and sexperts browse its contents. One guy tried on leather vests and purchased a flogger while another looked around with a terrified expression and wondered aloud if his sex life is too dull. A friendly clerk laughed. "No, it's not boring," he assured. "You're what we call... vanilla."
A recent Toronto transplant named Brad who stood nearby overheard and laughed. "What I like about the Cuff is that it's not confusing," he said between sips of a Long Island. "I like that people in Seattle are so open and accepting of each other. But I also like not having to wonder if the guys in the gay bar are actually gay or not."