Neil Patrick Harris' First Gay Club Was New York's Legendary Limelight

"That was how I found out what a dark room is," says the 'Uncoupled' star. The rest of the cast weighs in.

In Uncoupled, the new Netflix series from Darren Starr (Younger, Emily in Paris) and Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family), Neil Patrick Harris plays Michael Lawson, a middle-aged gay man whose partner (played by Tuc Watkins) of 17 years suddenly breaks up with him. And as the plot description reads: "Overnight, he has to confront two nightmares: losing the man he thought was his soulmate, and suddenly finding himself a single gay man in his mid-forties in New York City."

Dating while being a single gay man in New York means plenty of partying at gay bars and clubs, and being a gay man himself, Harris was no stranger to the queer nightlife scene.

Scroll through below as Harris and his co-stars, along with Uncoupled co-creators, tell Logo about their formative first gay bar experiences.

  • Neil Patrick Harris (Michael)

    Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Netflix

    "I went to the Limelight in New York City back in the late '80s. I was probably 18 years old, so I'm not sure about that math," recalls Harris. "It was the Michael Alig times with a lot of ecstasy, and people with wings and lollipops, and I was too young to be in there but I had a fake ID, and I was with some friends, so I was safe.I wasn't out and my friends were straight, but it was the cool visual place to be, and I remember walking up the stairs and being like, 'What is that area?' It was all dark in there and I walked in... That was how I found out what a dark room is. Searing imagery. Then I walked down a hallway and some guy stopped me, and he goes, 'Are you Neil Patrick Harris?' And I was like, 'Yeah.' And he goes, 'I used to masturbate to you all the time.' And I was like what do you say to that? 'Thanks?' And then he left, and that was, in hindsight, a great thing to say because it's a conversation starter, but for me, I was all new to this so I hid downstairs. I didn't know what was going to happen. So yeah, it was fun. "

    "I remember it all like it had recently happened. The Limelight back in the day, when it wasn't a mall. Good times."

  • Brooks Ashmanskas (Stanley)

    "I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and there was a bar there called Scandals, and it was right on the corner, and it was all windows. Part of it was, I think, piano bar-ish, and part of it was pool bar. I remember I went there, I was way too young to go, and it was a different time where that was, I don't know, less wrong. I remember just the first thing walking in, and this very tall, beautiful man came up, and he literally scared the hell out of me because he was like, 'You are far too young to be in here.' And I remember freezing, and thinking I'm in trouble, and everything, and he was like, 'So come with me, I'm going to take care of you.' In a sweet way, and he made sure I was okay. He kept checking in with me, and I remember it was a great first bar experience because he took care of me, and made sure I was all right."

  • Emerson Brooks (Billy)

    "I think I was very young actually. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, in Midtown, which always had a very diverse and welcoming LGBT community. I remember my first gay bar was going with my dad because it was more of a pub for older gay men in the community around Atlanta. So it was always just normalized in our household, in our friend group, and in our community. I think I was probably a 13-year-old sneaking sips of my dad's beer."

  • Tuc Watkins (Colin)

    "I remember it was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time, and now at middle age, when I came out of a relationship a number of years ago, I went back into that gay bar, and it's not much easier even with experience. Those things do have a razor's edge of [being] exciting, exhilarating, and stressful all at the same time, [that] has always been my experience. But in the '90s, when I was coming of age and came out, I was in Los Angeles and I went to Studio One every Friday night, and I went to Catch One every Saturday night, and not only are those clubs not there, the buildings aren't even there any longer."

  • Darren Starr and Jeffrey Richman (series co-creators)

    Darren: "It was in Rehoboth Beach, when I was in college, and working as a bus boy, and then there was a gay bar in Rehoboth that I went to by myself... That's a scary moment, and then you walk in and you're like, 'Oh, this is really fun.'"

    Jeff: "It was in L.A., on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was a bar called Middle Earth, but it was a dance bar. So I went with friends, and it was the first time I had seen two men dancing together. I remember watching a dance floor of men, going, 'What the fuck?'"

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