The art of cruising is alive and well at Stammbar – a cruise bar that’s also a surprisingly social space, and a key part of the nightlife of Brussels since it was established in 2013.
I caught up with Fred Da Soghe – the man behind the men of Stammbar – for a behind-the-scenes look at a venue that showcases some of our proudest queer traditions.
How has Stammbar evolved over the years?
I opened the Stamm after leaving the Duquesnoy – another cruising bar that was well-known in Brussels.
I wanted to create a venue where the cruising aspect would be less prominent than the bar – making it more of a social experience. We’ve continued to build on that through exhibitions and music.
Combining cruising with every other aspect of our community – such as culture, music, and charity – seems to be something that people really connect with.
That has created some challenges over the years – such as our support for Trans people, which is very important to us – but the Stamm is a place that is constantly changing. We learn from our community.
What sort of people do you find at Stammbar?
It’s mostly men, obviously, but there’s not really a defined clientele.
The Stamm is a place without pretension. Whoever you are and wherever you’re from, you’re welcome here.
Music is an integral part of the Stammbar experience. What style of music best helps create the good sexual energy you need in a cruise bar?
There’s no right or wrong music, it’s all about the moment. Music can help to transform a customer’s mood and help to enhance the sensuality and the sexual tension.
We feature talented DJs who really understand this. They’ll play a set of six or seven hours and really help to shape the energy of the bar and create hyper-sexual moments.
What do you want people to feel when they visit the Stammbar?
The freedom to be who you are – not to be ashamed of your body, your personality, or anything that makes you different.
Feeling good about yourself makes you shine and reveals your beauty to people. If people feel that way, I’m happy.
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