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Within a few weeks after the Nazis took over government in 1933, fourteen of the best known gay establishments were closed.After homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, many gay bars opened in West Berlin, resulting in a lively gay scene.The gay club Eldorado in the Motzstraße was internationally known for its transvestite shows.There was also a relatively high number of places for lesbians.Other names used to describe these establishments include boy bar, girl bar, gay club, gay pub, queer bar, lesbian bar, drag bar, and dyke bar, depending on the niche communities that they served.
In the 1950s and 1960s the police and authorities tolerated homosexuals as long as the conduct was private and out of view, but gay bar raids occurred and there were occasions when the owners of the bars were involved in facilitating the raids.
In Berlin, there was gay and lesbian night life already around 1900, which throughout the 1920s became very open and vibrant, especially when compared to other capitals.
Especially in the Schöneberg district around Nollendorfplatz there were many cafes, bars and clubs, which also attracted gay people who had to flee their own country in fear of prosecution, like for example Christopher Isherwood.
In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands gay bars were established throughout the first quarter of the 20th century.
The very first gay bar in Europe and probably in the world was the Zanzibar in Cannes on the French Riviera.