Gay bars once served as the centre of gay culture and were one of the few places people with same-sex orientations and gender-variant identities could openly socialize. 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. Gathering places favoured by homosexuals have operated for centuries. Reports from as early as the 17th century record the existence of bars and clubs that catered to, or at least tolerated, openly gay clientele in several major European cities. The raid led to the executions of John Hepburn and Thomas White for sodomy. It is not clear which place is the first gay bar in the modern sense.